|Title:||Labyrinth Of Druids|
While listening to "Labyrinth Of Druids" by Czech band Nemuer I somehow thought it was a concept album, though I could not really understand what it was getting at. In the band's description on its official Facebook page, words such as "neofolk", "dark folk", "ambient", "celtic" and so on were used; all genres I thought I just perceived. The album is made up of acoustic guitars, as ethereal as rare male and female voices and massive use of keyboards. Beautiful atmospheres indeed, but I thought a central theme, a meaning, was missing. I believed I was dealing with a soundtrack of a sort, so try to picture how surprise I was when I found out I wasn't wrong.
Yes, because it is dark fantasy MMORPG "Labyrinth Of Druids" (LoD) which gives its name to the album. The game is produced by MidDream Studios and developed by a single person, Michael Krča, who is one of the two members of Nemuer as well. It all makes sense.
If we keep in mind that the album is conceived as a soundtrack of a virtual universe, which can probably be seen on the cover, the general pattern looks totally different. I assume now the confusion I sensed during my first listening was just due to the lack of the graphic element upon which the melodies lay and with which they collaborate in order to give birth to a bigger project. The album consists of fifteen instrumental tracks of various length and almost all of them are calm, relaxed and acoustic six-string dominated, like for example "Caves Of Damnation", "The Isle Of Awakening" and track number five "Green Walls", where the mood turns obscure and frightening for the first time, with the aid of keyboards and sighing voices in the background. The MMORPG is openly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's fantastic and surreal stories and sceneries and that's why the following song "Castle" is dedicated to him.
I'm not a gamer, I've never been, but I admit this album made me feel like I wanted to insert it into its corresponding videogame context, for this is probably the only way to understand what's happening (even though the listener can get an idea by listening carefully to the background sounds, like a crackling fire or footsteps). It is likely that the track titles are indicators of the path walked by the protagonist(s) throughout the game, and this is how also the various adventures and sceneries become evident: "Cemetery", "Dark Forest Shelter", "Arena Combat". "Baptism By Fire" ends it all: what's going to happen?
Even though I believe the album needs its graphic and visual counterpart, it is anyway an excellent companion for relaxation and solitude moments. Good luck to Michael for the development of the game!
Edit: Michael Krča is also working on a fantasy book made up of 8 chapters in total; the plan is to release an album for each. "Labyrinth Of Druids" is, in fact, the soundtrack to chapter 2.