“The pedal faithfully replicates the tone, distortion, and character of the album”: Misfits launch Earth AD overdrive to mark the 40th anniversary of a punk classic

KHDK Misfits Earth A.D.
(Image credit: KHDK Electronics / Misfits)

The Misfits have teamed up with Distortion Inc for a limited edition overdrive pedal to celebrate 40 years of the band’s seminal Earth AD album.

The idea is that the Earth AD 40th Anniversary Edition gives you everything you need to recreate the electric guitar tones from one of American punk rock’s landmark releases. 

And in many respects, it is a triumph of sonic archeology, with the pedal reverse engineered from the original gear that was used on the recording, to give today’s player a taste of what Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein was tasting back in ’82/’83, when remarkably it took three studios and three different sessions to put the short but fierce tracks onto tape.

Earth AD, or Earth AD/Wolf’s Blood if you subscribe to the Side A/Side B naming convention of the original vinyl release, is not an album that outstays its welcome. The version you will find on most streaming platforms lasts just 21 minutes, and yet it says it all with a pre-Apocalyptic punk sound that famously caught the attention of Metallica – who covered Green Hell and Die, Die My Darling from Earth AD – and a generation of punks and thrashers.

Stick it on now and tracks such as Queen Wasp and Devilock still sound as fierce as they ever did, everything mixed in the red, everything performed at a white-knuckle tempo.

Distortion Inc. Misfits Earth A.D.

(Image credit: Distortion Inc.)

Hand-built in Prague, Czech Republic, the Earth AD 40th Anniversary Edition is resplendent in Mad Marc Rude’s purple-bricked cover art (Rude, aka Marc Hoffman’s artwork would also prove to be super influential in US punk, giving it an aesthetic to complement its sound).

But this is no minimalistic drive pedal – volume, tone, gain dials and you’re off to the races. We’ve got five knobs on this thing, with the pedal format much like a guitar amp. There are the self-explanatory controls, Volume controlling output levels, Drive dialling in your gain, with more compression as you turn it up just as it would on a tube amp.

KHDK Misfits Earth A.D.

(Image credit: KHDK Electronics / Misfits)

Then there are Bass and Treble controls that are neutral at noon but capable of boosting and cutting to taste. Finally, there’s the Ripping control, which adds a “deep growl” to your sound, threatening speaker cones, the first two rows, and ripe with destructive potential.

Inside the enclosure there’s a secret mode switch, offering the choice between loud/bright and warm/subdued, the latter more vintage sounding to the former’s presence.

The Earth AD 40th Anniversary Edition is available to preorder now direct from the Misfits. It’s priced $249. Each order comes with a numbered COA signed by Jerry Only.

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.