Stijn van Cauter and Urnscent layouts completed. Shape of Despair layout coming next.
Listening to The True Werewolf's Devil Crisis. I've resisted listening to his music for years and don't take his projects like Satanic Warmaster seriously but this one is pretty fucking good...
Fragments of Lost Memories and Toril Snyen layouts completed. Layouts for Stijn coming next. Looks like there will be 7 interviews total for Ethere #1.
"Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind."
- Giacomo Leopardi
Arche and Shape of Despair interviews received, thanks to Edmund and Dominik! Toril Snyen layout nearly done.
Someone said something beautiful I thought in defense of printed media: "we have Tacitus's letters, but will digital media survive as a record of our time?"
Reviews I intended to write for Ethere are completed and Toril Snyen interview transcribed. Waiting for responses from Skepticism, Shape of Despair and Arche, the latter sent by Dominik and Edmund.
New review of Arvo Zylo's 333 added to the Reviews section.
I'm really happy to announce that Edmund Morton of Metalegion Magazine will be actively taking part in the new Ethere magazine project, alongside Dominik Sonders and myself. Edmund is an exceptional writer based in China and I'm looking forward to what he produces.
Interview with Toril Snyen of Funeral is completed and is ready to be transcribed and edited from 40 minutes of audio, which will be done later this month. Warm greetings to Toril who was very nice to talk to. A surreal experience for a fan of many years!
I've been really thinking lately on the high value humans accord to other humans and why the death of non-animals like insects don't have any consequences. "Justice" is a human invention existing only in the human mind much like god(s), countries and corporations - they exist because collectively we agree that they exist. This idea will tie into a new comic book character I plan to work on named Rodney the Super Strong Ant, an idea I've had for many years. Look forward to that sometime in the future.
Lastly, I will be traveling to Germany on August 16th and there won't be any updates here for at least 10 days. I will not be able to send orders during this time but I should be able to answer email. Thanks for everyone's kind support!
There haven't been any remarkable news of late except that interview questions have been sent to Shape of Despair for the new Ethere Magazine by my very talented friend Dominik Sonders of Sidetrack Walker. Please check out his bandcamp page for something very different and high quality without regard to genre. Arrangements for a live interview with Toril Snyen of Funeral are also being made, most likely for this coming weekend.
Reviews of several albums including those on No Part of It still planned, once I give them some more listens.
Arvo Zylo of No Part Of It has sent a package of physical CDs to review, back like it was done in the old days! Some quite interesting stuff on this label I'm eager to check out. Some reviews will come later. Check them out and show your support to independent, non-corporate music.
Season of Mist North America Shop has sold out of all issues of Convivial Hermit and will be restocked soon! Thanks to Steve di Pietro for his support and belief in this old machinery.
Stijn van Cauter has provided an epic interview for Ethere which I am (appropriately) slowly unraveling. Exciting news for the new magazine.
Was stunned recently to find out Kvist have regrouped after 27 years of inactivity. The new track is rough but promising. They've already done more than Sweden's Dawn have after 25 years of promising a new album. Trying to stay optimistic.
Sale list has been updated here.
Convivial Hermit #8 is down to the last 2 copies! Exclusive interviews with Bal-Sagoth, Godkiller, Zuriaake, Deteriorate, Sangre de Muerdago, etc. in almost 150 pages for much less than what others charge for such huge zines! Get in touch if you'd like to order a copy.
All interviews submitted for Ethere Magazine. Next will come about 3 more reviews to cap off all of the material from my side.
Nattehimmel's debut is easily the best black metal I have heard so far this year! Highest recommendation!
My final interviews for Ethere are wrapping up, new Funeral interview submitted today... still need to write several reviews. There won't be many for the zine but there will be a few. No relevant news otherwise. Looking forward to the end of summer.
Toril Snyen, original female vocalist of Funeral, has agreed to an interview for Ethere! Check her site here for some very good electronic music - especially the Nattefrost collab is quite good!
What makes full grown adults so completely deranged that they need to smear, unasked and without provocation, their religious or political neuroses on the noses of strangers? It's one thing to do it in anonymity on the internet, in a book, on a record or on a site you can decide to open or close, but in person? Could it be that I'm living in a culture and society that celebrates obnoxious stupidity?
Urnscent answers received. Still going through the impressive set of CDs Stijn van Cauter's sent to me. Might have a surprise coming for fans of Funeral for the coming magazine, we will see.
Urnscent interview is almost done. Stijn van Cauter interview coming next. Sent invites to a few people to help with the new zine but haven't had any success, so it may be another solo project. So be it!
Listening to Roaring Empyrean today, quite a fine release from the beautiful country of Iran. Also listened again to Moortrieder's new album. Not terrible! But still inferior to the EP from 2021 that I placed as my favorite of that year. Received new Tenhi and Mournful Congregation releases, looking forward to checking them soon...
Last news for the day is a very high recommendation for Astorg's debut, "And Yet, The River Will Flow", easily one of the top of 2023 for me and an essential listen for those who love neofolk. Check it out below.
Did a bit of work to modify the reviews section and added Coffin Mulch's new album to the selection.
I received an amazing package just recently from Stijn van Cauter of Until Death Overtakes Me and numerous other projects in preparation for the new magazine and our coming interview. I highly recommending visiting null.net to check out his creative work spanning many years/aeons. Support this man and his unique visions.
People who use the words "chops" and "solid" in their reviews should be executed.
Fragments of Lost Memories interview started today. Loving this cold air in early summer.
New Skepticism interview sent, Fragments of Lost Memories coming next. New project is in swing. Also completed another comic strip for yet another project.
Interview questions to Ulfsdalir sent. New interview with Skepticism for the next magazine project is in progress. Happy World Bee Day. Get stung by a bee today to celebrate.
The shortest joke: a young death metal band circa 2023 able to write a memorable riff. It's fucking impossible. I've never before seen such a single-minded, linear drive to duplicate what every other death metal band has done before in the past. My only remaining hope is with older bands who still have a memory of when death metal and originality were possible to synchronize together.
Happy Victory Day, May 9. This day meant a lot to my grandfather who served in the Great Patriotic War... as it should to the world, especially now. I'm not one for parochialism and especially tribalism but let's not allow current events to cloud the social facts of human history.
Ulfsdalir interview in motion... I think today's shitty day (actually 1 shitty hour of 24!) has galvanized me into finally getting my ass in motion with interviews, but we'll see how much impetus this has. Be thankful for negative experiences! The only good art and music is born from them.
Perhaps the good thing about Forced Birthers in the USA gaining so much power in the last few years due to the ignorant population is that their work will cause the birth of many new mutants, children without arms and legs, without brains, without skin, with rare genetic diseases, deformities, bizarre conjoinings, homunculi, etc. This will be great business for freakshows, YouTube and perhaps a future kind of American Mengele. This will inspire a bold generation of new artists throughout the nation.
Planning to do some interviews and post them on this site in the future. New Ulfsdalir finally reached me, my favorite German black metal band. Greetings to Tim and Karsten.
As a software engineer and developer I'll say that ChatGPT is quite interesting. It's clearly the most powerful and elaborate pattern recognition tool I've seen so far, but that is all that it is, a series of elaborate pattern seeking network algorithms along with a randomizer to enhance the appearance of intelligence. I think it's a stretch to claim that it is "artificial intelligence," but it may be one day for all we know.
What I'm wondering about is if it can be directed to write music. Most death and black metal today sounds as if it was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT simulates creativity just as death and black metal "artists" do today. I just got another death metal promo in my inbox today that sounds like ChatGPT wrote it. I'm seeing some album covers now made with this so-called AI. I think this is very appropriate to the times we're living in.
Happy May Day to all readers!
Most Convivial Hermit readers are probably unaware of her but in recent days I found out that the legendary Harriet Hall has passed away. A thousand writers could only aspire to the vigor, concision and fire of her work, cutting so deep into the cesspool of religious, faith-based and non-evidentiary deception and belief systems for almost 2 decades via her blogs and her articles in the Skeptical Inquirer and The Skeptic that I could only wonder at the degree of revenge or hate that (I'm pretty convinced) possessed her on the subconscious, perhaps even conscious, level. Even when almost unreasonable in her obstinacy in pursuing every argument to its maximally reasonable conclusion in the face of controversy, and even when I sometimes (very rarely) disagreed in some knee jerk way to some conclusion, I felt I was still to gain something valuable in every new composition of her independent and informed thinking. Just feeling that I disagreed, made me question my disagreement - such was the lucid force of her writing. R.I.P. to a legend.
Dark Horizon Records are having a 10% sale on all merchandise including zines, including all available Convivial Hermit issues. Check it out!
I'll soon put up a revamped intro page to the site where people can trace where to order the zines in their respective countries as shipping costs have recently increased for our distributor in Germany, Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions. Support independent music and art, and as always, fuck corporations, capitalist parasites and corporate speculators. They know who they fucking are.
New box from Pest Productions arrived today with 200 more Pest compilation CDs! Just as I was down to my last CD! All orders from the USA will include the CD, again, with 10 tracks from their present "rooster"! Thanks to my man Deng Zheng once again for saving the night.
Updated the sale list.
I am mostly creating comics lately and not so much writing, but I plan to change that soon for the next project. Still have in mind some more reviews for the website but it's hard to get excited or interested about "publishing" anything on the internet and the bloated hyper-commercial monstrosity that it's become.
For Canadian readers Tour De Garde will be stocking all available issues next month sometime. I will put up a post when the copies are there.
I'm impressed with how trend-friendly listeners from the present generation are these days, buying almost exclusively vinyl in 10 different colors and editions, in some cases just as collector's items and not even listening to the damn thing. Cynical and greedy labels exploit this situation. I don't know if I wouldn't do the same. Grow a brain and your own mind, fuck these speculators and their vinyl and expensive "deluxe edition" bullshit. These idiots are on the same level as those producing 40 page magazines and selling them for $15, or 100 page "music books" for $50 thinking it's perfectly normal.
I'm very happy to report that Centennial Conflict in New Zealand has put an order in for a shipment of Convivial Hermit #10! Ross Mallon has supported the zine for many years and is one of the greats of the underground as far as I am concerned, keeping the flame burning in the south Pacific. Support him and the label here: Centennial Conflict.
A few more ultra-low budget copies of Convivial Hermit #1 have been reprinted on my home printer, some of the last copies I will ever print since I no longer have access to a color printer of quality for the covers. To cover the expense of the toner cartridge and shipping I'll sell them for $15 each shipping included in the USA. Thanks for the support as always.
I was saddened to learn recently that Андрей Марисый of Belarusian folk/ambient band Далiна has passed away at the age of 44. His one and only album, Холодные Тайны (Cold Mysteries), is a classic of mystical ambient with an eastern folkloric touch. The very last thing he published was this track below, which I guess was meant for inclusion on a second album that never materialized? We'll never know. It was a privilege for me to interview him for Convivial Hermit #6.
Can someone tell me what a PDF magazine is? I used to write in several webzines 25 years ago during the Web 1.0 days. It made some sense since there weren't many sites and it was still exciting. The web wasn't a commercial clusterfuck as it is now. To create a webzine now seems to be a call in the wilderness. But to "publish" a PDF is something else... maybe I'm an old primitive dinosaur but I consider PDF webzines as legitimate and relevant as mp3-only album releases. To ask for money for ads in your PDF is fucking hilarious...
FYI, please check out Lotus of Darkness from Thailand. This is the only band on the Convivial Hermit comp I liked. They are doing something really original - their Sompas-Naga album actually impacted my dreams afterward. Listen to their bandcamp here.
Updated the sale list.
Updated the landing page with labels and distros that have supported the magazine for the longest time, in some cases since near the beginning. Visit their pages and support the true underground!
Only 7 copies of the Pest Productions compilation are left but Deng will be sending another box to me soon. There may be a period where the zine will be sent without CDs; if that is the case I will make a note of it on the site.
Lastly, Archaic Vengeance Records will soon be distributing all available issues of Convivial Hermit (including #8 which is now down to less than 10 copies). Check out this great distro full of obscurities you will not often find elsewhere including a lot of quality stuff from Eastern Europe and Russia.
I've been listening a lot to The Nightstalker (Belgium) recently which has been recording some great music off in their corner of the underground. I want to recommend this band to readers who like something melodic and different and full of keyboards/synths and atmosphere. Every album is a concept with unusual lyrics and main man Steve Fabry also publishes a comic book which is fucking cool as hell. Check the band out via the Ukrainian Wolfshade Records bandcamp here.
Issues have been sent to almost all remaining bands except for Coffin Mulch and The Pilgrim Soul In You who are not responding.
I am disappointed to state that Dayal at Cult Never Dies has disappeared after writing to me over a month ago that he is interested in working together again after our brilliant collaboration on issue #9. He is no longer responding to any mail. I don't know why there is dead silence on that end - perhaps he decided a collaboration is not a worthy investment on his side, but if that is the case it would have been nice to be informed of that by him directly. I have deleted all reference to Cult Never Dies in the "latest issue" page to avoid confusion. Issues of #9 are still available from his site here and I recommend readers in the UK to check it out since it is a completely unique edition. If any readers from the UK are seeing this I encourage you to write to the company to ask for another CND edition with local shipping rates. If that does not work Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions will continue to distribute the issue worldwide including to the UK.
While American propaganda is now pissing its pants over a Chinese "spy balloon" in the latest effort to vilify China from both corporate political parties and their networks (never mind that Americans have been spying on and regularly violate the sovereignty of other nations themselves for decades, including China's, but that doesn't count)...
Fragments of Lost Memories have released a new album here. Listened to it today and enjoyed it, more research to follow...
And also Lull has reappeared after 14 years! Quite some news. Almost on cue with my published introduction to the Jarl interview in issue #10 where I bemoan Lull's absence. I haven't formed a definite opinion of this album yet but am thinking of writing a review of it soon since Lull has been so important to me over the years.
Listen to some great ethereal/piano music from Raven Tong of The Pilgrim Soul In You here: Raven Tong. Packages for bands and people to whom I still owe mailings will be sent soon now that the zine is in Europe.
The magazine is now available to order in Europe and around the world!!!
BHN Books link: Bleeding Heart Nihilist Books
A lot of news for today...
First, I want to announce that Bertrand Garnier's Urgewalten issue 2 is now available! Order this beauty here ASAP if you want to be one of the "cool kids" on your block.
Second, it appears that copies of Convivial Hermit 10 have FINALLY made it to Europe with our friends at Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions in Germany! Once I get a link and more info I will post it up, probably making another update tomorrow! In the meantime you can write to Bleeding Heart Nihilist here to reserve a copy if you live OUTSIDE of God's Magic Kingdom!
Third, defying all expectations and indeed, logic, Season of Mist's North American division based in my home city of Philadelphia has done the unthinkable, ordering copies of the new issue of Convivial Hermit! These copies will also be distributed in France! Incroyable! Enormous gratitude and respect to Steve who manages their online store for making this possible. I will put another post up online when the zine is available in their sites.
While recovering from the worst cold I've experienced in a long time, far worse than my experience with Covid last year, I've been returning back to France's Misanthrope and listening to their excellent discography. As much as I dislike death metal these days, I make exceptions for non-Millennial and Gen-Z bands like this who actually know how to write a riff and inject fresh ideas into their songs! The new album Les déclinistes and its reworking of classic tracks is quite something, too! Great band... and of course Holy Records remains one of the finest labels to ever exist in respect to number of excellent releases, as loathe as I am to celebrate any label at all.
Uwe Nolte von den mächtigen Orplid, Barditus und Sonnentau hat unser Gespräch hier veröffentlicht: Noltex. Wir danken diesem Verfechter der Kunst und Poesie von ganzem Herzen!
Updated the sale list here.
Promoting the magazine and trying to get stores to carry it feels like selling encyclopedias door-to-door... this huckster work may be easier if I didn't live in a landscape which has reduced the average human attention span to less than several seconds. Intellectual curiosity and a desire to read about new bands blind to genre seems deader than death today - there's nothing left but scattered ashes. Nonetheless, the drive to do something as stupid as make printed magazines disconnected from the internet continues.
Hells Headbangers, Dark Horizon and Ancient Meadow will soon be stocking Convivial Hermit 10. Enormous respect go out to all for their support!
I want to also mention that the early Funeral discography (the only albums that matter) will be reissued soon (again!) through some other label here. I normally don't make such announcements but these are some of my favorite albums of my entire collection. If you missed Tragedies and In Fields of Pestilent Grief back in the 90s this is a chance to check them out properly for the first time.
Updated the For Sale list, please check it out. Removed Siren Records from the stores links, slowly flushing references to any humanure out of the site.
By the way, I just "love it" when a postal employee lectures me on media mail when I've been using it for over 25 years. They are so fucking insecure about it it's as if with every media package sent they get a deduction from their paycheck and Louis DeJoy personally drops a lump of burning coal into their underwear.
Just trimmed my list down of all "brick and mortar" stores that can go fuck off in the links section (won't name names, but if you've been following the site you'll see the omissions). It's not easy walking door-to-door peddling wares, driving in some cases hours back and forth. The mentality one often encounters shows that many of these store owners will not last long and it's a damn miracle that they have lasted as long as they have. I will definitely be changing tack of how I go about my business packing physical stores going forward esp. when one person picks up the phone and another person ends up dealing with you, leaving you not knowing what to expect. Will save health, time, energy, etc, for everyone involved.
As I hinted in the new issue I will be more supportive of Eastern, South American and African bands going forward. Many of these people are living in dictatorships and mediocre economies that need all of the support they can get. My next project will not be Convivial Hermit but when or if I do return to it, expect even more unknown names. This is what the underground is about. Independent support and a middle finger in the face of the corporate hoi polloi and all that is money-driven. All hail the unterirdische Untermensch! Gott ist noch tot! Jawohl! Поехали!
I remember back in the 90s there was plenty of conformity but it was also a mark of pride to not follow trends and do your own thing. Back then bands were playing one sound on one album and then something completely different on another. Bands were experimenting, it was exciting! It was possible to be surprised with new albums. Now here we are in 2023 and the "coolest" thing is to write albums that sound exactly like albums that have already been recorded better years ago! I refuse to believe "everything has been done", as some people say; this is just pure laziness. In fact, I'm stunned at how low the standards have fallen where all it takes to win praise in hipster magazines and sources is capturing an existing style, having machine-like technical skills (who cares?) and recording professionally and neatly. This has nothing to do with the underground I used to love. Take death metal, for example. No genre is as oversaturated and boring today as death metal, bearded hipsters in GenZ bands unable to write a memorable riff to save their lives! I won't name any but I'm regularly hearing albums (I sometimes get 15-20 promos a day) with songs striving almost desperately to mimic earlier bands, almost note for note - and these pathetic recordings with not an iota of personality or vision are given huge points on the Archives. Makes no sense to me. Most black metal is total fucking garbage as well, particularly almost everything from Scandinavia (Finland and Sweden are the absolute worst) and Europe (Germany), but at least some of these fucking copycat bands still play incompetently enough and have yet to be absorbed enough into recycled consumer culture to have some interesting mistakes peak through that by accident reveal faint glimmers of individuality.
New Years resolution for 2023: spend less time listening to bad, over-hyped promos and focus on the bands that have something to say. My rant for today!
P.S. Issues for overseas distro are delayed again as my colleague may be sick with COVID. More news to come and I apologize to the bands and labels that are waiting.
Happy New Year to all readers!
First important update for the year is that payment methods are changing.
First method of payment will be Zelle, with target info below.
Alternate payment method will be Paypal.me/convivialhermit using the Friends and family option only. In both cases you will have to send me your address, contacting me here or through the Contact page. Thanks!