The heavy distortion go-to of the mid-'80s "Legend" series (which preceded the famed 10-Series), the Ibanez SML Super Metal was designed to satisfy the desire for high-gain, saturated sounds. At the time, the dimed-amp heavy metal sound was all the rage, so with a name like "Super Metal," the SML fit the bill. Appropriately-labeled controls ("Attack," "Punch," and "Edge") help dial in the EQ from searing leads to heavy metal chunk. If you want to sound like you're plugged through a 100-watt stack cranked all the way to 11, the SML does that.
But nowadays, what's interesting is how well the SML functions as a low-gain boost. Under the hood, you'll find two JRC4558D op-amps—the same op-amp in sought-after TS808s. When you pull the gain back and push the level, the SML is a great low-gain drive. It hits the front-end of your amp with force. As you adjust the EQ controls, you start to realize that—while they're labeled to capture the metal ethos—they're really just Low, Mid, and High controls. There are a lot of tones in this pedal, that's for sure.
This 1985 Ibanez SML shows some wear and tear from its age (see photos), but it functions 100% as it should and has no history of repair and issues. The battery door/foot pedal on the Legend series can be finicky over time, but there are no problems here. This is an intriguing rare pedal that is well-worth trying out, especially when you consider what folks pay for more-recognizable Ibanez pedals from the '80s.