By Ellen Eldridge
Gunslinger’s Breaking Through begins with the title track buzzing like a rattlesnake’s warning. A crescendo of fuzzy noise seeps in like the maddening poison taking hold and intoxicating the listener. The phrases “The sleep is through” and “with hunger in our eyes” paint an image akin to Jim Morrison prophesying from a desert dune. The fact that Gunslinger members Anthem and Vidal plan to release a remix of The Doors Waiting for the Sun makes sense in light of the way the album opens.
Anthem (from Southern California) and Vidal (from Lisbon, Portugal) originally met online and worked together sending music files back and forth for a year until an O-1 artist visa was secured, which explains much of the feeling of disconnection and immersion heard in the music.
The attraction of psychedelic drugs lies in the sensory overload; the feeling of jumping into the ocean and, after the shock of the cold water wears off—feeling the over-riding immersion of the environment. So it feels when listening to Gunslinger from inside a closed space like a car with a great stereo system or through a pair of studio headphones.
Layers of life pass by while listeners swim past environmental elements trying to categorize sharks from fish, rocks from coral and make sense of the pressure of the water as they swim deeper. Just when you start to fear rupturing an eardrum from the pressure of the music surrounding you, the track changes to relent and provide an entirely new sensation.
After the opening “Breaking Through,” the second track, “Surrender,” pulls listeners in like psychedelic mushrooms taking effect. The organic yet complex style reminds of Muse, while electronic elements call to a fine blend of ‘80s synth and ‘90s Nine Inch Nails or—even more closely—to Marilyn Manson without the anger. Musically erratic yet succinct with moving beats and electronic swishes that Trent Reznor would gargle with.
“At the Top” stands out as a fun song that has the spirit of a glass of wine. The song’s intoxicating effect mirrors that of the steady beats and rhythms in all the songs on Breaking Through, but this track in particular feels more lighthearted.
“Open Flame” closes the album with a resonant pulsating bass drum that powers through the lyrical themes against the backdrop of a wailing guitar.
Find out more on Gunslinger’s official website.