The Eternal Descent graphic novel series created by writer/musician Lexi Leon is kickass anyway you look at it, but especially from a guitarist’s point of view. A supernatural tale of epic proportions, it features among its list of characters the members of Static X, Atreyu, Firewind and Shadows Fall and Lord Shred himself, Joe Satriani. There is music to accompany the graphic novels too, composed and performed by the very talented Leon with legendary producer/engineer Eddie Kramer (you know him – he’s worked with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, KISS and about a billion more). The DigiTech Lyra is designed to take several of the tones used on the Eternal Descent recordings and present them in easily accessible stomp box form, either for fans of the series or just for those looking for some interesting and unique tones sculpted by some very talented folks.
The Lyra features seven present tones – ranging from clean to moderate overdrive to brutal distortion – to match seven songs from the Eternal Descent albums. The controls are Level, Gain, FX Mix and Lyra – the latter being the seven position selector knob. The Level and Gain knobs are pretty self-explanatory, while the FX Mix control varies the amount of modulation, delay or reverb present in each preset. When the controls are in their centre position they mimic the tones on the actual tracks, but you can add your own twist quite literally with a turn of the knobs. There are two outputs – a mono one and a second for stereo operation – and the Lyra runs on a 9V battery or an included power supply.
The seven presets are Crystal Cascade (Clean with echoes); The Morass (dirt and phaser); Ethereal Entity (saturated lead tone with a slow attack and reverse delay); Divine Lead (rock lead with an octave effect); Lyra’s Lightning (high gain lead with delay) Dark Blues (tweed amp tone with plate reverb) and Crushing Chaos (heavy gain and extreme phase shifting).
To test the Lyra I plugged it into a clean solid state amp for the most authentic sound (so tubes wouldn’t unnecessarily colour the tone), jacked in my Ibanez UV777BK 7-string with DiMarzio Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups, and let rip. I guess the big question with a pedal like this is, can you get something out of it even if you’re not into Eternal Descent? The answer is ‘yep.’ The tones are a bit synthetic-sounding in that they seem to take whatever guitar you’re plugging into it and make it sound somewhat the same as the next axe you try it with, but that’s part of what’s so good about it: whatever guitar you plug in, you’ll get a consistent tone. And those tones are pretty adaptable. Although they lean towards processed metal, I can hear a lot of uses for them in dubstep, garage and stoner styles as well. My favourites are Divine Lead (I love love love those octaves); Ethereal Entity, which really sings when you grab onto a note and let it sustain; Dark Blues, which sounds suitably authentic and swampy; and Crushing Chaos, which is great for really ear-catching special effects. Each can be tweaked to suit your particular needs, and there are some great unexpected sounds to be found at lower gain settings, so don’t be shy to back off on the distortion and see what else this pedal can do for you.
So there you have it: versatile clean, rhythm and lead tones with cool effects which you can use whether you happen to be a lost soul, a winged demon or just a plain old musician.