Review Summary: Skill, direction, style, innovation, and a sense of humor? I'm listening...
So there's a name that's been floating around the proverbial "underground" that you may have heard. Yes, that's it - Tre Watson.
Tre's solo material apparently (and his identity at large) seems to have come out of the woodwork due to his desire to deviate a bit from his guitar work in metalcore outfit Carthage. So he slaved away on his own and came to the same musical conclusions that many of the solo musical pioneers in metal today are coming to - djent is the way to go. And so, Lexicon of the Human Subconscious
popped onto the internet in the form of a free download, followed quickly by a plea from Tre for a few donations to repair a broken 8-string guitar. Well, he got them. And with good reason.
truly is a great album. Following close on the heels of Animals as Leaders and only slightly predating Periphery's debut album, there's definitely innovation to be seen here. And it appears with all of the stylistic heaviness expected, but also with a great deal of melody and style, serving to carve out that individual identity necessary to make an interesting record.
And this innovation rears its head in Tre's ear for the electronic, his sense of humor, implementation of melody, and sense of musical direction. Unlike most djent albums, Tre's Lexicon
has a way of building its tracks from humble roots to a crescendo - be it melancholy, lighthearted, or aggressive. Through this, he is able to develop emotion with his songs and create a musical link with the listener, and that tone is established right from the start with the introductory track "Dilate."
What greatly enhances this emotion and the overall point of the songs are the different stylistic elements Tre chooses to employ throughout the album. From the start, Tre incorporates melodic guitar solos of varying tones - ranging from the soulful and contemplative to the bright and whimsical. To this end, Tre also has no qualms about appearing serious, and puts out quirky (and great) tracks like "Charmander used FLamethrower!" which uses a variation on a theme found in the Pokemon video games. A similar attitude can be found in his use of electronics on tracks such as "That Which is Past Predicts F" where his guitar tone takes on a quality heard in the stylings of Buckethead; or in "Image Construction Error (feat. Dan Park)" where midi synth creates an old school video game sound. Of course, if you want the real capstone of Tre's humor, the final track - a restyling of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" that includes all of her original vocal work on top of Tre's amazingly re-visioned instrumentals - says it all, and manages to come out smelling like a rose at the same time.
Those heavy-handed rapid-fire chug riffs are, of course, present on the album as well; and the only real weakness of the album comes in the overuse of the chug riffs between "Hopefully Working" and "Breach of Consent," where the riffs repeat ad nauseum, making any listen to those tracks feel like a waste. But for the most part, these riffs appear only in short, understated, or appropriate supply - at least for the first half of the album. During these songs, the chugs act as a chorus, providing musical direction and steering the listener's attention towards the aggression emphasized by the sound of those down-tuned riffs. Finally, it seems that djent has someone who can use those 7th and 8th strings to provide a sort of chaotic order that enriches the music.
This album hosts Tre Watson boasting to the world that he had his own, beautiful take on djent and instrumental metal. Here, Tre shows that he's already a master of his craft, and that with a bit more refinement, he could easily rise to the level of giants such as Tosin Abasi or stand toe to toe with Buckethead.