Two hard-hitting guitar pedals are vying for Boss supremacy in the metal arena. Are you ready for the ultimate Metal Core vs Metal Zone showdown? Which distortion heavyweight are you going to root for?
The history of rock culture and distortion pedals have been deeply intertwined since the beginning of electric-driven music. As a result of both the art and the tool influencing one another’s development, humanity has witnessed the birth of countless variants of the rebellious force known as rock and roll.
Over time, music technology started to improve and engineers worked hard to find ways to break recent barriers. Because of this, the gadgets and the guitar players who employ them have also embarked on an unstoppable journey, full of artistic curiosity and discovery.
Heavy metal is one of the great genres that was spawned when guitar players and inventors decided to take the level of gain and distortion to unprecedented heights. What came out was a perfect marriage of technological innovation and elevated creativity.
Today, metal has branched out to innumerable sub-categories, with specific styles and themes that are defined as well by the level of aggression that they project through their sound. At the center of it all, is the electrifying guitar tone that breathes life into the savage riffs and licks that metalheads have embraced throughout their existence.
Boss Metal Core vs Metal Zone
Along with the growth of heavy music, Boss stompboxes have taken over the scene as the best-selling guitar pedals in the world. For many years, the durable and ever-reliable Boss MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal has remained a favorite, not only among metal guitarists but other musicians from less heavy genres as well.
Other Boss pedals dedicated to metal, such as the MD-2 Mega Distortion and the HM-3 Hyper Metal, have attempted to dethrone the versatile Metal Zone. However, it is the ML-2 Metal Core that has truly caught the attention of metalheads. At last, the Metal Zone has a worthy challenger in terms of popularity and usability.
When the MT-2 Metal Zone came out in 1991, it changed the landscape of metal forever. Touted by Boss as the “king of high-gain distortion,” this iconic effects pedal brought a lot of tone flexibility to the table.
Perfectly suited for a variety of heavy music from heavy metal to thrash, death metal to progressive rock, the Metal Zone is a versatile beast that has graced the pedalboards of legions of metal axemen.
The Metal Zone is one of the best-selling pedals with a lot of accolades to boast and it is not yet ready to give up its throne in the kingdom of metal.
If you think that the Metal Zone is too extreme, think again. The massive and ferocious snarl of the ML-2 Metal Core made heads turn when it debuted in 2007, a time when the headbanging public thought things couldn’t get any heavier.
Inspired by the passionate brutality of the mid-late 2000s metalcore genre – which was popularized by bands such as Darkest Hour, Shadows Fall and Unearth – the ML-2 is also a favorite among Grindcore, Industrial and Nu Metal groups.
Modern metal fans and practitioners believe that a new king has arrived. It’s easy to understand why metalheads of today are shifting their allegiance to the Metal Core, since it has accessed a heavy territory that even the revered Metal Zone wouldn’t dare tread.
Which is better: Boss Metal Zone or Metal Core?
Weighing all of the features and sound quality of the Metal Zone and the Metal Core, it appears that there is no superior pedal between the two. Both stompboxes have their own strengths to boast about, but they also have very different limitations. So if you are planning to buy a distortion pedal and you are torn between the two, remember that it will all depend on your needs as a musician and what type of metal you prefer playing.
The Metal Core is definitely beefier and is perfect for players who use 7-strings or tune their 6-string guitars lower. Staying true to its name, the Metal Core is designed to satisfy the requirements of 2000s style of metal. It is also more rabid, more brutal in sound than most of its counterparts in the Boss distortion lineup.
On the other hand, Metal Zone grants you a lot more tone control than the Metal Core, giving the older pedal the edge in the versatility department. The Metal Zone’s main strength is its multifacetedness and this is why even legendary genre-hopping popstar Prince loved using the MT-2 in his songs.
For metal guitarists, if you are into Megadeth or Metallica, the Metal Zone is your best choice. But if you prefer the head-snapping, chugging breakdowns of Hate Breed and Killswitch Engage, then the Metal Core is more suited for your setup.
Keep in mind though, that metal is not about conformity and you are free to break all of the rules as long as you can conjure some badass music. Some metal guitar players don’t even believe in the Metal Core vs Metal Zone debate and have decided to combine both pedals in their rig instead.