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Although the band is inactive at the moment, Intra Spelaeum did put on a Moscow show late last year. Comrade Aleks talks to founder Kron about that, and more.

Interview with Intra Spelaeum.
"Intra Spelaeum - from Eletrostal, Moscow - celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2020. Started as a melodic Doom Death band with Russian lyrics, they followed their own way, constantly changing and transforming through years. They rely on powerful live shows and their studio albums are interesting too - though true cult followers may be dissatisfied with some of these works, due to the more diverse melodic sound, but still based on Doom Death. However Intra Spelaeum put on a proper show at Shadow Doom, Chapter IX which took place in Moscow, November 2019. We had a conversation with band founder Kron and it sheds some light on the Russian Metal underground."

Intra Spelaeum: Geralt (bass), Kron (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Fin (drums).

Hi Kron! How are you? Do you have enough grain and toilet paper to face the virus panic? Does it already influence Intra Spelaeum's plans?

Hi! Hahaha, actually we don't care about all this virus hysteria. Maybe, if I'll spend more time at home for now, I'll have more time for my music. Or not)))

So how active is the band nowadays?

Now we are sleeping.

Okay, why not introduce the band to our readers anyway... How and when did you start Intra Spelaeum?

Ok. In 2008 I met with the lyrics writer and singer of the Moscow pagan metal band called Svarga (Сварга). He's name is Ilja Wolfenhirt. We became very good friends and one day we decided to try to make music we like. I remember he says something like: "Let's make doom with pipes!" I said: "Ok, let's try".

Kron, at the time you started Intra Spelaeum you already had experience of playing in other bands. How did this experience reflect on your work with this band?

Yeah, In that time I was a keyboard player in Melancholy (experimental fusion metal) and guitarist in Empty Shell (groove death metal). I always wanted to make dark music with ambient keyboards, and my experience in Melancholy really helps me to develop a sense of music style and taste.

How long did you work on your debut self-titled album? What kind of material did you aim to get writing these songs?

At that time my favorite bands were: Tiamat, Draconian, Septic Flesh, Saturnus, Lake of Tears. Maybe I tried to reflect atmosphere of my most lovely songs in our first album. By the way it was an exception in one song and maybe you heard it. Do you remember song 'Yad Vechnogo Dreva' / 'Venom of Eternal Tree'? Mainly it was too far from doom music. The guitar theme was more like country music. Wolfenhirt doesn't like it, but I did not want to throw away that theme)) So I was supposed to mix it with dark keyboards. In conjunction with the low vocal line the result was great! We started to write material in 2009. First we released two tracks in 2010 just for testing. These to songs are most popular in internet till this time. 9 month later we released full length album.

Do you remember people's reaction to this release? Were you satisfied with the feedback?

Yes, the reaction was very surprising for us. Honesty, there was another situation on the internet. Not so many bands played doom metal in Russian language. So we immediately began to stand out of all Russian doom metal bands. The concerts were great. People after the shows come to us with words of gratefulness.

Intra Spelaeum - 'Где Восход променял свою Тень' (2011):

Why do you think the Russian doom scene was so poor in the mid '00s? There was a mere bunch of bands with secondary ideas with very few rare exceptions.

Good question. I've never thought about it. But now I remember it was a pity to see so poor dark underground doom scene in that time. For me it was just one good doom-metal band in 00s. It was Forgive/Me/Not from Tula. And I think Melancholy band was very interesting for me till 2007. In all honesty it's hard to find real good doom metal band with good sound, powerful attack and deep atmosphere. And there is one big problem of Russian doom bands: POOR LIVE SHOWS. Standing still guitarists… keyboardists pokerfaced… Vocalists does not know what to do with their hands during guitar solos, etc... It's so boring… I don't know why? Why? Just look at our last live video from Moscow Doom Festival. Why can't you do the same show? I'm upset and disappointed. Maybe Intra Spelaeum is not perfect in that case, but every time when I'm going to the stage I MUST make a real show for people. It's very important on live shows.

What's the origin of the 'Withering Cometh' collaboration which stands out from Intra Spelaeum's discography? Why didn't you mark it just as Intra Spelaeum with a guest vocalist?

Actually, I don't give a shit how to mark stuff like this : ) It was just one single track. I really don't care. Our vocalist didn't want to make lyrics for this music, so I've asked my friend Demether Grail (Arcanorum Astrumto, Zmey Gorynich and more) about collaboration and he accepted. I think 'Withering Cometh' is a great song! Great experience!

What are your memories about recording sophomore album 'Zabyto Davno' ('Long Forgotten')? Was it technically easier to record it with the current line-up?

It was the hardest album for me. It was my first big work as a sound engineer. I made almost all music, half of all the lyrics and spent a hundred hours of mixing. The tons of mistakes. The album is extremely raw and powerful by energy. I was tired from slowly doom and I wanted to make my music more aggressive and punchy. I think we realized so much interesting ideas in this album.

Can you name a few of such ideas?

I don't know how to say, maybe I should give you timing of each song with perfect places? : ))) You know, sometimes when I seldom times listen to this album, I think: Holy fuck! I wrote it?? Come on!.. I remember when we trained to play 'Dom' / 'House' song… For musician it's nightmare. 14 minute song. In very good opinion we can play it just 4 times per hour. So you should try to correct each moment of the song, practice many-many times. But we have done it. This song we played alive just once in all history...

Intra Spelaeum - 'Брошенный Мир' (Official, 2015):

Your lyrics were in Russian from the start, do you feel that this factor limits Intra Spelaeum's chances to reach out to foreign doom-heads?

Absolutely, yes! Anyway the main language in our world is English! That's the fact! I think it's very hard to reach foreign metalheads by Russian songs. Definitely we have our listeners from other countries, but not too much… Maybe it's a problem. But Russian fans really thank us for that kind of music in Russian!

How often and where do you usually play live? Do you feel a necessity to play with Intra Spelaeum on stage?

Now not so often as I want to… There are many reasons for it. It's all about Russian metal industry, about the personal priorities of each band member, about money, about time and many-many difficulties. You know: when you're 20, you have more time to spend for music, parties, travel, rehearsals. You have more forces to go somewhere with bags and instruments. There is only music in your head)). But when you're 37 - you need to think really good about how to spend your free time. About live shows: Yes, for me, as a musician, it's very necessary to play my music alive!

How do you see the Russian Death/Doom scene nowadays? And do you see Intra Spelaeum as a Death/Doom band still?

Scene is shitty. The times are shitty now. We must understand the doom scene is deep underground. It's very hard to organize a good doom-metal festival.

About Intra Spelaeum - I don't know. I will write music as I feel right now. I've never associated Intra Spelaeum as a death-doom project. Real doom for me is boring. I don't want to go in circles. I don't give a shit about the future genre of Intra Spelaeum. Nobody controls us, no contracts, no labels, no commercials. Just our songs and our live shows.

Hah… Bold words. But Intra Spelaeum took part in the Moscow festival Shadow Doom, Chapter IX just few months ago. What kind of program did you perform there?

Honestly, I'm ready to play maybe once in the year, but I want to play at festivals like that. These people are the only ones who care about doom metal in Russia! Big respect from all my heart! It's very hard job. Our program was on 70% of songs from last album + 'In a Dream' (Tiamat) and one song from the first album.. Full set was filmed. Unfortunately I have no time to make montage of all our show now. For now just two live songs is available in official band resources.

What kind of influences would you track on 'Mne Imya Vlast' ('Power Is My Name')?

This is a metaphor. The lyrical hero invented his own God. He believes then he made a sacrifice to his God, he became a full powerful man… or maybe god. But this "God" remains silent. Nothing happens. From time to time man spills blood, but all in vain… Just think about it. I think it reflects a couple of problems of mankind...

'Mne Imya Vlast' saw the light of day in 2018. Do you already have new material?

I always have materials, but for now I have not so much time for this because of my family and work situation. As I said, we must choose our priorities.

What kind of songs do you prepare this time? How far did you go from Intra Spelaeum's roots?

I think not so far. But there is another story: I have my own solo project, so songs that are far from IS roots are part of my other music life))) I listen too much different music. Doom, death, grindcore, EBM, gothic synth music etc. And I want to make it by myself too!

Intra Spelaeum - 'Я выдержу всё' (Live, 2011):

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Visit the Intra Spelaeum bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-04-19 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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