Not all fuzzes are created equal, and the Nemesis + Fuzz/Expression, by DPFX (direct in Greece) proves that point. (FYI: available on Reverb, but do search Nemesis fuzz, since there is a Nemesis delay by another company). Some may be put off by all the options that exist with the Nemesis, as opposed to one or a few knobs in which to turn, but if you’re looking for a wide array of palette choices for your compositions, and you’re a fuzz nerd, the Nemesis will rock your socks off. It has a powerful sound, and so it coordinates best with clean amps, although it embraces slightly dirty/gritty amps rather well by controlling the gain on both.
The sounds vary considerably with this pedal, and although the accompanying demo alludes to this fact, it only scratches the surface. In fact, the demo runs 10-minutes long, and so I did not want to belabor the issue as I avoided demoing how it can sound by rolling back the guitar’s volume (to clean up the tone). Consequently, the demo includes both bold rhythms with some accompanying lead licks throughout a number of settings to get the Nemesis’ point across. Nonetheless, the demo covers a lot of ground.
Starting at the top of the pedal, there is a three-band EQ, and what I like about this EQ is that it provides a good range of dark-to-bright without exaggeration or pointlessness… using a lot of bass or midrange does not make the signal muddy, nor does using a lot of treble make it harsh. The Frequency knob is pure delight and you can achieve anything from heavy and menacing to edgy and cutting in your tone, an element that coordinates well with the EQ section. The Sharp knob allows you to dial in the Resonance, so that the tone cuts through less or more – in a way, it adds ‘edge’ to the sound. The Resonance also can be adjusted (hi or lo) via its toggle switch, thus expanding the harmonics and overtones. The Gain knob ranges from dirty to nasty, but without becoming too saturated, unless fully cranking the control (which still cleans up nicely via the guitar’s volume). You can provide some Gain emphasis with its own toggle switch, making the sound more aggressive with a modest increase in volume. Of course, there is a Volume control, and there’s plenty of volume on tap; for the entire demo I kept it no more than half-way. What I like is that pushing the Gain (even when switched to hi-gain) does not boost the signal that much, which means you don’t have to be overly concerned about balancing volume with gain. The icing on the cake with this pedal is its expression control, which sweeps through the Frequency – and this sounds very different depending on which Resonance you select (hi or lo).
All of these features allow you to incorporate some modest fuzz, which also sounds like mild distortion with lower Gain settings and if dialing back on your guitar’s volume, but also heavy psychedelic doom Metal. The range of fuzz is very impressive, indeed. The expression control option is for those experimenters who want to explore realms that are unique, yet musical. The Nemesis is awesome on its own, but the expression option definitely sets it apart from fuzz pedals that try to be unique. If you fast-forward to the 6-minute mark in the demo, you will hear some active knob tweaking while playing, that later resorts to use of an expression pedal.
Nemesis is slightly larger than the average sized pedal, but it contains a lot of controls and options in its footprint. As well, you can tell DPFX cares about its boutique-quality perception and reputation. All of the pedal is hand-painted (using spray paint and stencil work) and the logo on the face of the pedal is etched on the aluminum chassis. Finally, since the Nemesis does have ‘distortion-like’ qualities, with fat and grainy textures, this pedal likely will appease musicians who may not be fuzz-fans.