Gus Englehorn – Dungeon Master: Album Review

A half-hour of slightly off-kilter madness from Gus Englehorn.

Release Date: 6th May 2022

Label: Secret City Records

Format: CD / Digital

Appearing on the album art as a budget version of Ghosts’ Papa Emeritus, having emerged from his cabin in the woods (which probably made a nice change from the lava field in Hawaii, eating moose and playing Nintendo), Gus Englehorn turns his hand to his second album. Ten songs that King Crimson would probably call observations, which is probably a more apt description for the general air of hysteria and dementedness that lives within.

Once you hear the Tenacious D style few seconds (“I awoke in a pit…with a man staring down at me…laughing ‘ha, ha, ha, ha,'” etc) delivered with a paranoid pixie-ish semi-seriousness and some well-rehearsed guitar accompaniment, you’re hooked. What the hell is this? The promise of Dungeon Master being “the cutest, heaviest and most bizarre rock’n’roll record you will hear this year,” is fulfilled within a breath. Listen on and find out.

Within a few more breaths, Gus has come face to face with death, seen faces at the bottom of the (aforementioned) pit, generally diced with something demonic and all before feeling much better and evvolvinginto a friendly indie pop song. The Gate, as indeed the song is titled, is open. A little like Alice heading down the rabbit hole, we’re led into a wonderland of wild, weird and bemusing encounters in three minute bursts.

The cries of “evidence is on the ground, evidence is all around“…etc on Ups And Downs could rival Mr Lydon’s ‘anger is an energy’ mantra, not for the only time, as Gus goes all freeform on the evidence theme including a manic “wasting time” freak out. Add a few more semi-controlled bous of mania and a melodic singalong and the musical theme is pretty much set. The classic lines continue to deliver – “Blood is running from my nose, and it’s getting on my sweater” (delivered in a melancholy Jilted John persona/tone); “Your face was almost pink, as you cried into the sink” – brillant.

Don;t expect anything too sophisticated in musical terms. It just wouldn’t fit or seem right. Tarantula (that whispers in your ear…) is accompanied by a riff you might have encountered from Kurt and the boys and there ar e plenty of accompaniments of tribal rhyhms on repeat or sub-R.E.M poppy guitar.

All great fun though and a chance to escape into an alternative reality with fleas, rabbits and horses accompanying Gus at various points. Dungeon Master could be the new cult – or maybe not. Take a tip from Gus’ book; let loose and and let your subconscious do the driving.

Here’s Exercise Your Demons:

Gus Englehorn: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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