Death By Audio Apocalypse Review – Best Fuzz Distortion Pedal?

Reviewed by:
On September 20, 2013
Last modified:October 6, 2016



This is it. The Apocalypse. Death By Audio have cemented a legacy over the past decade of creating some of the most extreme and intense fuzz distortion guitar pedals available, and the Apocalypse is no exception. And Death By Audio are no slouches when it comes to packing innovative features into their effects pedals like with the Echo Dream 2 Lo-Fi Delay and Thee Ffuzz Warr Overload. The Apocalypse offers 5 independent modes of operation and a tone shaping Sweepable Frequency Equalizer to cover a very wide range of fuzz distortion tones in a single pedal. With so many tones available from its easy to use control set, the Apocalypse could be the end all be all of fuzz. Is it the best fuzz distortion pedal out there? Keep reading our Death By Audio Apocalypse review to find out.


Death-By-Audio-Apocalypse-Review-Best-Fuzz-Distortion-Pedal-025 Independent Modes of Operation:

Twin-T Scoup: A uniquely EQ’d tuned amp circuit with pronounced bass and treble at the same time. Good for palm-muted metal tones and more.

Gainiac/War Fuzz: A very full and dynamic distortion with beautiful sustain and harmonics. Sounds like a huge stack of amplifiers.

Dual J-FET/Square Wave: Similar to the War Fuzz setting but with dual J-FETs and a clipped waveform for a balls to the wall sound.

Octave Rect/Octavious: Fullwave Rectification sums the bottom and top halves of a waveform to create a nasty octave up sound.

Gain x1000/Wave Form Shifter: The gain is cranked up super high on this post amp for strange, splatty and blown out results.

Sweepable Frequency Equalizer tone knob for extreme tonal contouring, beginning with a bass booster, fading into a mid scoop followed by a mid boost and into a few stages of treble boosting for a beautiful bright sound.

Additional controls for Volume and Drive.

Powered by 9-volt battery or 9VDC power supply.

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Also featured in the video: Death By Audio Thee Ffuzz Warr Overload.

Sound & Performance:

The Apocalypse has a lot of tonal variation on offer. Its interactive controls and sounds are deeply responsive to your pickup and amp settings. There is such a wide variety of sounds to be found here that nearly every guitarist can surely find some musical applications for this pedal. I’m going to run down my impressions of each mode as that seems to be the best way to get acquainted with this pedal.

The Twin-T Scoup mode generally has a boosted high and low end. I find it especially pleasing to set the SFE knob to around 10 o’clock or so for some scooped metal tones. However, this mode has a looser response making it better suited for single note riffs and full chords rather than rapid fire thrash riffs. With the SFE knob rolled to the bass position, the Apocalypse produces a thick and boomy bottom that is absolutely massive. With the Drive rolled all the way back and SFE around noon, you can accent your clean sound with some slightly crunchy drive tones that sound like you’re playing through broken speakers. Max the drive, and you’ll find that this mode alone produces all the gain you may ever need. But that’s just the tip of this apocalyptic iceberg.

The Gainiac/War Fuzz mode offers fuzz along the lines of Death By Audio’s Fuzz War and Thee Ffuzz Warr Overload pedals. However, there’s definitely more here than meets the eye. With the Drive all the way down and the SFE set between noon and 2 o’clock, the Apocalypse produces an amazing overdrive tone. Bump up the Drive ever so slightly, and you’ll be treated so some great mild distortion tones. The smooth overdrive and distortion sounds are a very welcome surprise and give the Apocalypse a level of versatility that extends well beyond the realm of a typical fuzz pedal. But this mode is really all about the fuzz. Crank the Drive, and you’ll be in fuzz heaven. The tone is thick and saturated, offering a different color of fuzz than the Twin-T Scoup mode. Its worth flipping back and forth between these two modes to hear the variance. This mode is great for massive walls of fuzz and thick lead tones that sustain for days.

The Dual J-FET/Square Wave mode offers similar style of sound to the previous mode only with a more “open” sound. I find it interesting to flip back and forth between these two modes when a different character of fuzz is needed. While the Gainiac/War Fuzz mode seems to offer a bit more of a sizzling fuzz, the Dual J-FET/Square Wave mode brings more girth and fatness to your tone. The effect of the SFE control is a bit less dramatic in this mode, offering more subtle colorations of your overall sound. Again, try this mode with the Drive all the way down for some J-FET overdrive tones.

The Octave Rect/Octavious mode offers sounds reminiscent of classic Octavia effects, providing a singing octave up tone. This effect sounds superb through bridge and neck pickups and offers rich, violin-like sustain. It works exceptionally well with polyphonic chords, too. And it simply sounds great through the full sweep of the SFE knob. If you’re looking for an octave fuzz effect, the Octavious mode on the Apocalypse offers one of the best around.

The Gain x1000/Wave Form Shifter mode offers a flavor for the most gain obsessed fuzz addicts. This mode is wild and weird, delivering an over-the-top assault of fuzzed out distortion. If you want to decimate your audience with more fuzz that any mere mortal can handle, usher in the Apocalypse with the Gain x1000 setting. It’s a monster that’s hard to tame, but maybe that’s the point? At lower Drive settings it becomes more manageable, slapping out bursts of sputtering fuzz. Higher Drive settings induce feedback that is surprising musical and controllable. Just keep playing and don’t stop if you want to keep the noise at bay. This mode is the grand finale, and it certainly ends things with a bang.

Another really cool use for this pedal is as a sort of EQ in conjunction with another distortion. With the Drive rolled all the way down, I put Death By Audio’s Thee Ffuzz Warr Overload in front and sent the screaming fuzz of that pedal into this one. Adjusting the mode knob and SFE control yielded amazing results all around. You absolutely must try the Apocalypse in conjunction with your favorite distortion, overdrive, or fuzz pedal.

The Apocalypse is seriously a fuzz pedal to be reckoned with. As a matter of fact, it’s like 5 fuzz pedals in one. Death By Audio have a winner on their hands as this is seriously one of the most over the top awesome pedals around. Let’s see the final result.



The Apocalypse is one of the most ambitious offerings yet from Death By Audio. With an unprecedented 5 modes of operation, it’s like having 5 completely different fuzz distortion pedals in one. This pedal certainly offers a lot value for the true fuzz connoisseur. And there are some very usable overdrive and distortion tones to be found within. Death By Audio’s unique Sweepable Frequency Equalizer control offers deep tonal sculpting for finding the perfect fuzz tone. It even works well as an EQ-like effect for coloring your other drive and dirt pedals. If you’re looking for the best fuzz distortion pedal around, definitely audition the Apocalypse for yourself. It’s wrath must be experienced firsthand.

That concludes our Death By Audio Apocalypse review. Thanks for reading.


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  1. The Death By Audio from Apocalypse can cover any silicon sound you can think of …find another fuzz that sounds very appealing…and if you can not get a close match on this thing ….you haven’t tried…and once you do …the pedal you just heard today that sounds so great will not be worth banging out a hundred dollars for …or worse yet paying more.
    The only thing that would make this pedal better would be an accessible noise gate…I have bought a stand alone jobbie but that is inconvenient. It would also be cool to have a pad on the ‘volume’ control because cranking the volume changes the sound and many musicians with big pedal boards find leaving all pedals on unity gain is the only piratical way to use them.


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