The Wall that Walrus Built
The Walrus Audio Tonesmiths are no strangers to soundscape shaping. To be frank, their skill level is daunting to describe. Ferocious fuzzes and tumultuous tremolos, undeniable delays and line isolators only scratch the surface of their many other offerings.
Meet the Walrus Audio Melee: Wall of Noise Reverb Pedal, newest addition to the Walrus Audio pedals lineup built on a foundation of distortion and reverb. Manufactured in the USA, along with other Walrus Audio pedals, it is a towering sonic structure, filled with hidden secrets to uncover and tonal treasures to discover.
The Signal Path is Always Right
If you’re of the mindset that distortion comes before reverb in series, you’re right. If you’re of the mindset that reverb can come before distortion in series, then you’re also right. We’re not here to make the rules, and neither is the Melee: Wall of Noise. You can change the signal flow of these two effects hitting each other by just flipping a switch. Sure, one is more “traditional” than the other. But how could you not experiment when Walrus makes it so easy to? This is one of the defining features of this conjoined effects pedal, of course, once you get over the joystick control.
Yes. Both the reverb and distortion mix are controlled by the joystick. Up and down for distortion, side to side for reverb mix. This makes for spontaneous eruptions of wet/dry mutations, and yeah, you do look pretty cool while doing it. Along with the mix control, you have a volume knob for overall pedal output. Between that and the order switch are your tone and decay switches. Normal, dark, and bright settings for tone (L to R) and minimum, medium, max for reverb decay (L to R).
Reverb(s), for the Algorithm
There are three Reverb programs or algorithms within the Melee: Wall of Noise, all with unique personalities. With three bypass modes, the Melee: Wall of Noise Walrus pedals are true bypass, and have two additional modes, DSP and DSP+True. By pressing the sustain and bypass switch simultaneously you can cycle between them. Each one is ultra-tweakable via the simple controls, along with those hidden secrets mentioned earlier. Like, for instance – holding down the bypass and moving the decay toggle adjusts modulation levels. Zero, slight (33RPM) or high (45RPM). Or, press and hold bypass when the pedal is off for a momentary grab of texture, then release. Need to pause that moment in tone a bit longer? Smack the sustain footswitch once to latch on to your reverb until you hit it again. Or hold it down to ramp up reverb trails, only to topple back down once you release. There are plenty of variables with little need for instruction, and that’s just how we like it.
For the best and safest use, make sure to have an isolated power supply for the Wall of Noise Pedal, and all other Walrus Audio devices.
Now let’s discuss some of our treasure discoveries.
The Melee’s Ambient Reverb (pink LED) is, well, aggressively ambient, to say the least. Set tone to bright, decay to medium, and send reverb into distortion. Modulate to your liking, but there’s enough going on here to keep that to a minimum if any. Joystick to the uppermost right it can swivel to. Think luscious, fat pads of ‘verb that still cut through the mix. With the tone set to bright, chords can remain on the clearer side even with the reverb running into the distortion.
Shoegaze and Doom (Doomgaze?) find one another in the Octave Down Reverb mode (yellow LED). Tone set to dark, with medium decay and slight modulation. Mix up for heavy distortion, and a leaning right for Reverb. Run reverb first in line, and both your riffs and chords will be cavernous in depth with cutting edge distortion. If the octave down reverb tickles your tone fancy, you might also fall in love with one of the Melee’s cousins, the Walrus Audio Slö Multi Texture Reverb. Check out the “dark mode” on this additional ambient soundscape maker and report back to us.
Perhaps our favorite find within this pedal is something we stumbled upon with the Reverse Reverb (blue LED) engaged. Bring that joystick dead center and straight up. With the tone set to normal, decay at its longest (in Reverse Reverb mode, the decay actually controls the amount of feedback), and reverb running into distortion, the Melee: Wall of Noise distortion pedal generates what could be the spookiest score to your found-footage horror film. Like a true tone hound, howl at the moon with single note bends, or cloak your sound in dark, murky chords, sometimes indistinguishable like an unfamiliar figure in a thick fog. If your curiosity can’t be satiated, bump up the modulation by holding down the bypass and moving the decay switch all the way to the right at 45RPM. Just remember, don’t be scared. It’s just a pedal. Or is it?
Melee: Wall of Noise Final Thoughts
Many of us have multiple reverb and distortion pedals on a single pedal board just to get the job done for one musical endeavor. Now, that’s fine, but, what if we could do more with less? What if that “less” was user-friendly focused, but tonally endlessly expansive. And yes, it does have a joystick. Thanks to the dynamically responsive distortion and three genre-crossing reverbs all inside Walrus Audio Melee Wall of Noise, we can.
Looking for more Walrus Audio Review & Releases? Check out our take on the release of Canvas Series D.I. Boxes.