Convivial Hermit Magazine began in 2003 after the fold of Erebus Webzine in order to satisfy the urge to create a completely uncompromising magazine focused on underground and independent music along with unique articles, art and photography. In contrast to the many publications the author has written in previously, like Metal Curse, Ad Arma!, Negura, Oskorei, Unrestrained!, Qvadrivivm, Metalworks, Brutallica, and Juggernaut amongst others, Convivial Hermit Magazine has been an independently produced work, from the writing to the art to the photography to the final layout. Starting from the 5th issue Bertrand Garnier from La Delaïssádo Magazine, Brad Smith from, and Owen Wears from Meridian 9 and Exterus have also contributed.

The Hermits


Yury's 2020 Greatest Metal Hits

Mulla - هل تحتاج إلى. Every band that's promoted today boasts a return to the 90s scene but it's almost always an absolute lie. Mulla from Iraq (I think in truth France) have the genuine 90s feeling with mercilessly raw production and genuine fucking hate. In fact, this particular EP reminds me of a mix of German and Scandinavian black metal from those halcyon years before everything became sieved through Pro Tools. All of their stuff is good but (the 2nd track on) this EP is fucking glory.

Paganland – Galizier. Black metal in the ancient Slavic vein, out of sync with most of what is going on in the world and its trends and possibly their best album. The NS themes are cringeworthy but serve as a nice wall to keep people who think Akhlys is brilliant (everyone reading this?) far away.

Serment - Chante, ô flamme de la liberté. Latest project of Moribond of Forteresse. After Thèmes pour la rebellion and its flirtation with a more commercial direction and production I’m glad that Moribond came to his senses and returned back to cold and misanthropic minimalism.

Invoker - Towards the Pantheon of the Nameless. Aeon was a fine release but Towards takes things a step further with greater range and diversity... it's a release I've listened to numerous times and have yet to grow tired of, German melodic death/black done beautifully and right.

Faustian Pact - Outojen tornien varjoissa. Not very remarkable but has a superb feel to it, coming off as a mixture of early Abigor and early Thyrane... that it’s Finnish and doesn’t sound like Horna is a huge plus for me. It also makes up for another year without a new Ancestors Blood CD (another band that disappeared into the void).

Dawn of a Dark Age – La Tavola Osca. A masterful mix of Italian folk, ritual and dark metal that sounds unlike any other group thanks to an idiosyncratic use of clarinet and saxophone. Not a perfect album, feeling overlong in its final phase, but nevertheless daring, intelligent and, unlike other bands mixing these genres, completely unpretentious/uncontrived.

At The Gates of Mountains - Songs of the Pagan Lands. Beautiful low-fi atmospheric cross between dungeon synth atmosphere and black metal with a few flashes of brilliance. The band changed their name to Pesttanz and appear to have dropped the metal for future releases.

Visceral Mass – Visceral Mass/200 Stab Wounds – Piles of Festering Decomposition. Both these releases were really the only examples of old school death metal that I cared about this year among 10,000 death metal digital promos, and both aren’t that great. The genre is so saturated at this point that I really wonder how a single DM band can wake up in the morning and think their contribution means anything. Visceral Mass is at least vintage and has some cool, memorable song writing, and 200 Stab Wounds has also a great vintage sound and vocals.

Law of Contagion – Woeful Litanies from the Netherrealms. Powerful death/black of the bestial variety, nothing extraordinary, zero originality, but hitting to the bone with intelligent songwriting and strong production. Shows that bestial black/death does not by default have to be something completely stupid like something you’d find on the NWN label.

Celestial Season – The Secret Teachings. Returning back to their roots, Celestial Season have recorded a fine new album that I am still navigating through and trying to absorb. As of this writing I would say that it does not match the greatness of Forever Scarlett Passion or Solar Lovers but is a very decent return nevertheless. Worth hearing!

Convulse – Deathstar. A guilty pleasure for me, as this is essential a rock record, but it is so good and so odd that it automatically rises to the level, not to mention that this is not American rock, which sucks, but Finnish rock. I didn’t like any of the last few Convulse releases and was pleasantly surprised that they decided to return to the direction they took on Reflection which to me, back then, was something very special.

Yury's 2020 Greatest Ambient/Electronic/Folk Hits

Anvil Stryez - Vengeance. I grew up with 80s video games and films like Escape From New York, Terminator, and They Live, so this was easily my favorite electro album of 2020. Supremely catchy and pure, this release and band pays homage to that decade like no other.

Te / Dis – Transparent Subsistence. Like a cross between old Throbbing Gristle and Joy Division, Te/Dis have only just come to my attention in 2020 despite existing since at least 2013. This album has some beautiful tracks, almost industrial pop in a way given the linear catchiness and standard 4/4 structures, though the meat of the songs are halfway noise/electronics with no standard musical instruments. Really great stuff and will be digging into the rest of his releases now.

October Falls - Syys. I interviewed Mikko back around 2005 when he was still producing only folk music. Not long after he decided to mix metal into his releases, which did not appeal to me at all (A Fall of an Epoch I found totally forgettable). With Syys he has returned to his roots and with no less than quite possibly his best ever folk record yet.

Orplid – Deus Vult. What a surprise to finally get a new album from Orplid after 12 years of silence, and as a whole it does not disappoint. Greifenherz felt like a band at its nadir while Deus Vult brings back some of the emotion and beauty of the past in a long and varied album. The (rather bland) big book packaging and jacked up price courtesy of Prophecy is a sad affair but the sounds (with more connections to Primus inter Pares) offer nothing to complain of.

Vromb – Origami. I've been listening to Vromb ever since the Jeux de Terre days and Huge Girard rarely disappoints. Origami is a beautiful mix of wide foreboding atmospheres and alien sounds. Arguably more impressive than his last album, Noize Melodia, sans the last of five tracks, which is kinda dull.

Cabaret Voltaire – Shadow of Fear. As a big fan of Cabaret Voltaire's music the news of a new album after 26 years (!) was very exciting, more exciting than finally hearing the album, honestly! Shadow of Fear is now just Richard H Kirk and while it is far from a flop, there's a bit of a superficial popcorn feel to it that's made me put it away after several listens. Still a matter of investigation.

Neutral - Last Tale of Love. A nice return from Ash as Neutral albeit only in file form this time (no physical release? C'mon!). This follows through from The World of Disbelief, maybe just a tad improved. The last album was his least inspired; this one, a bit moreso.

Sangre de Muerdago – Xuntas. I've lost track of this Spanish band for a while with the difficulty of ordering some of their later material, but on Bertrand's recommendation I've checked out this latest album and it is without question, objectively, a work of art of the highest order. Even if the mood is a bit too positive and friendly for my taste in many spots there is no question that all elements fall into fluid unity and Pablo's vocal performance is his strongest to date.

Position Parallele ‎– Mélodies En Sous-Sols. Geoffroy Delacroix is simply one of my favorite electronics artists whose music I've been following since the early 00s. With Derniere there was just one disappointment in past (Immortel) but the record is clean, so far, with Position Parallele.

Thomas Koener - Motus. Koener is one of my favorite minimal ambient composers and on this latest album he takes his work into a weird alien dimension with burning rhythms that is truly on its own level. This is completely non-radio friendly and inaccessible in the vein of Hideaki Shimada but with low-level noise and bass frequencies. Hopefully I can interview him some day.

Bertrand's 2020 Greatest Metal Hits

Odraza - Rzeczom

Shagor - Sotteklugt

Sainte Marie des Loups – Funérailles de Feu

Hate Forest - Hour of the Centaur

Faustian Pact - Outojen tornien varjoissa

MSW – Obliviosus

Hecate – Ode au Désert Suspendu

Paysage d’Hiver – Im Wald

Stormkeep – Galdrum

Afsky – Ofte jeg drømmer mig død

Fluisteraars – Bloem

Bertrand's 2020 Greatest Ambient/Electronic/Folk Hits

Sangre de Muérdago - Xuntas

Kammarheit - Thronal

Jéricho – De Dreit Nien

Desiderii Marginis – Departed

Signal~Bruit – Hyperborée

Bärlin – The Dust of our Dreams

Dale Cooper Quartet & the Dictaphones ‎– Ramsès Redoute

Wrekmeister Harmonies – We Love to Look at the Carnage

October Falls – Syys

Hymnambulae - Andarlīh

Tri-Function Million - Terraformer