I was in the same exact boat you were in. I've listened to every dist. pedal out there, over like 24 of them and out of them all it came down to these: Vox Bulldog Distortion Damagecontrol solid metal Zvex box of metal Protone body rot II Mi Audio tube zone Seymour duncan Metal Mayhem Visual Sound jekyll and Hyde AMT Electronics Mattias Eklundh Freak Guitar Dual Drive Distortion Pedal The best one hands down is the AMT ELectronics Mattias Eklundh pedal but its the most expensive($350 USD) and I wasnt willing to purchase a pedal that costs half the price of a decent guitar. So I bought the "Metal Mayhem" along with "MXR 10 bang EQ" I havent heard a better sounding distortion yet.
But I run everything out of a tube amp, so I kinda was specifically looking for a tube dist/overdrive pedal visual sound, Zvex and Vox are still one of my favorites tho. but if your on a budget then the fullbore or metal muff, cant go wrong. well you can but best bang for your buck.