Airis Effects is still fairly new to the scene, having cultivated a following of mostly heavy music players over the last few years, but they seem to be everywhere, having popped up on pedalboards of folks like Veil of Maya’s Mark Okubo, Dean Murphy, Pete Cottrell, Pin from Sikth, and more. I needed to see what the hype was all about, so I decided I’d compare the most popular models to get a sense of what the differences are.
The three pedals I demo’d are the Brutal Drive, the Savage Drive, and the Savage Boost. They all serve essentially the same purpose – boosting and/or driving your amp. They all also do an exceptionally good job of that, but there are some key differences. Although the Brutal and Savage drives have identical controls, they sound a bit different from each other. The Savage Drive seemed to have more high end and was tighter at identical settings than the Brutal Drive, which had some more low midrange presence and more warmth overall. The Savage Drive sounded more modern to my ears, with minimal effort to get a very tight and aggressive sound that cut through the mix very nicely. The Savage Boost had a similar sound, but like the settings on the Savage Drive had been set to a certain spot and left there. It’s also easily the noisiest of them all, but you can get a LOT more boost out of it than you’ll probably ever need, enough to send a low gain amp into high gain brutality and probably cause some damage.
It’s a tough choice to have to make, and of course, you don’t necessarily have to make it – you could just buy all three. But for my money, the Savage Drive is where it’s at, and I’ve been using it on a couple different things since I got it and shot the review. I think it’s a solid all-around heavy music boost/tone shaper, and based solely on my personal tastes, the best of the three for modern high-gain tones. I’ve been using it recently to transform even vintage style amps into tight, vicious monsters. I think the only thing that could improve these pedals would be a blend knob, because I like to blend in some unaffected signal to a real tight one for some fatness.
I like amplifiers of many different kinds, but sometimes they need a little help. Any one of this trio of pedals can help take your amp to someplace different if that’s what you want, by an inch or a mile, so if you liked what you heard, head over to Airis Effects to pick up these and other cool pedals!