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Empress Effects Unleases Heavy Menace

Empress Effects Unleases Heavy Menace

An evolution of their original Heavy, the Heavy Menace offers extended features in a smaller, pedalboard-friendly enclosure.

Empress Effects today announced the release of the Heavy Menace, their newest high-gain distortion pedal. An evolution of their original Heavy, the Heavy Menace offers extended features in a smaller, pedalboard-friendly enclosure.

“The Heavy Menace is our most versatile distortion pedal ever,” said Steve Bragg, President of Empress Effects. “It offers the essential capabilities of the Heavy, along with enhancements that make it a perfect fit sonically, functionally, and physically for even more high-gain players.”

The Heavy earned accolades for its aggressive tones, flexible EQ, and adaptive gate. The 3-position Channel switch on the Heavy Menace selects between the original Heavy and Heaviervoicings for extreme saturation and a new Lite(ish) mode that offers a lower gain option for a more classic crunch. Advancing through the modes adds progressively more gain and high-frequency content.

The new pedal retains the Heavy’s powerful tone shaping with a 3-band EQ and Weight control, which adjusts a filter in the distortion circuit to dial in thick, powerful lows or a tight response that’s perfect for palm muting or extended-range guitars. The midrange frequency, controlled by a 3-position switch on the Heavy, is now sweepable from 200Hz-2.5kHz.

The adaptive gate clamps down quickly when it detects a fast stop but allows sustained notes to decay naturally. On the Heavy Menace, the gate is foot-switchable, can be used independently of the distortion, and can optionally be controlled by an external signal using the gate key input. This allows consistent operation regardless of changes at the main input, such as stacking pedals earlier in the signal chain.

Key new features include:

  • A new Lite(ish) mode in addition to the original Heavy and Heavier modes
  • Footswitchable noise gate that can be linked to the distortion or switched independently
  • Gate key input to for controlling the noise gate with an external signal
  • Sweepable midrange frequency
  • Selectable true or buffered bypass
  • Compact form factor
  • Artwork by Ottawa tattoo artist Kaylie Seaver
  • 9V-12V 250mA DC power supply required (sold separately)

The Heavy Menace is now shipping. It is available from the Empress Effects website for$249.99 USD and from Empress dealers worldwide.

For more information, please visit

The Empress HEAVY MENACE Pedal! (Distortion & Gate)