“This thing shall destroy all!” promises Gary Holt as KHDK Electronics launches the thrash legend’s Mad Monarch signature preamp/drive pedal

KHDK Electronics Mad Monarch
(Image credit: KHDK Electronics)

As the long-standing guitarist in Bay Area thrash stalwarts Exodus, and Jeff Hanneman’s replacement in Slayer, Gary Holt needs little introduction in metal guitar circles, but if he did, you could always pop the KHDK Electronics Mad Monarch on the pedalboard and that could do the talking.

The Mad Monarch was developed in collaboration with Holt and it is the latest in a string of artist signature pedals KHDK has released, and was recently teased on Instagram by the Holt, who promised his tone in a box, and a lot more besides. 

The pedal is a sequel of sorts to Holt’s long-discontinued KHDK Paranormal signature pedal, the brand’s first ever limited edition signature collaboration – the one with the upside-down cross LEDs that light up in the cat’s eyes on the enclosure art, how could anyone forget? But it has evolved out of sight. This does more.

Finished in purple flake, the Mad Monarch’s enclosure houses a preamp on one side and a drive on the other, with footswitches assigned to both sides. 

The amp side is, unsurprisingly, laid out like a guitar amp, with controls for Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Master and Contour. The drive section, occupying the right-hand side of the pedal, is controlled by Drive, Volume and Mid Boost knobs.

KHDK Electronics Mad Monarch

(Image credit: KHDK Electronics)

The pedal is designed to be Holt’s failsafe on the road. Should he encounter a poorly maintained rental tube amp he can just run the Mad Monarch as a preamp through the amp’s power section, and he will get his tone. 

“Simply put, my tone in a pedal, and so much more!” wrote Holt, when he first announced that it was coming soon. “I can literally pull this out of my bag, plug in to any decent amp with an effect return and be CRUSHING fools to no end. I am amazed at how this thing sounds! Perfection!”

The Mad Monarch is priced $249, and comes with a signed COA. It is available for preorder now, shipping October. 

Holt's stompbox follows a number of high-profile signature pedals for the likes of Trivium, Nergal of Behemoth, Avenged Sevenfold’s Zacky Vengeance and Scott Ian of AnthraxKHDK launched Zacky Vengeance’s Night Of The Living Shred high-gain preamp pedal at the beginning of August. T

hese limited edition pedals sell out in no time so you need to be quick on the draw. They might not stick around on the shelf for long but they tend to stay on the artist’s pedalboard. The Trivium Ascendancy clean/boost overdrive pedal is still an essential part of Matt Heafy’s signal path.

To find out more, head over to KHDK Electronics.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.