Wave Records from Brazil released a collection of Twilight Ritual's recordings called 1982-2021 and it is highly recommended if you are a lover of very old industrial and post-punk (i.e. Cabaret Voltaire) as I am. Great, great stuff! Listen and order here.
Finally added a frontpage to the site. Also added top lists for 2021 at the bottom of the About page, as well as a link directing to the 2020 lists. These lists are still taking shape for both us and are not totally done yet (I still need to hear the new Dperd and Traum'er Leben). This year had a huge number of releases, some of which were good, but no standouts for me, so take the numbers and order with a grain of pepper on my side. There was no winner for 2021.
We hope our lists offer readers some interesting things to discover outside of the beaten path.
Just learned that Blazemth are releasing a new album next year, 26 years after their last release! This is huge news for me as those early 90s mini-albums were some of my favorites from the day! A new track was released, check it out here - sounds promising, Volkhaar still on vokills!
Also noteworthy: our friend Patrick from Melkor has collaborated with Mondocane on his first album, listen to the recording here. I think you'll agree that the riff on that first track is pretty fucking great.
Just in time for the holy holidays I've received a new package from Noxathra in Germany including many of his latest anti-Christian releases, including Nigrum Tenebris and Mysteria Mystica Aeterna! I've been curious of these for a while! I raise the open skull of the fictional Christ in a symbolic toast to you and all associated hordes!
We're reaching the end of this year which means an update to the top releases in the About section is coming soon. I'm still listening to a bunch of recordings and trying to make my mind up on what was the least worst, not to mention that there are still recordings being published. Today I have begun an article on underrated Russian bands. Probably one more article and that will be it for the next issue. In other news, I received a promo package from Makoto at Weird Truth Productions who has supported me for many years, including the new Lifeblood CD (great so far!). Huge respect to Makoto and his unique label! Last, I'm starting to clean this page to separate the news into links (scroll down to see the beginning of this). The same will be applied for 2021 so this page does not get too cluttered.
This year has been so lousy for music from my point of view that I've started digging into top metal lists of other people to see if there's anything I missed that I shouldn't have. Almost universally everyone is jumping for joy that it's been an AMAZING year for metal - which I just don't see at all. Maybe I am getting old or I'm just burnt out from having to hear up to 10-15 promos a day? I don't know what it is! Anyway, I checked out a few new ones that were highly rated that I missed to now... here goes...
Esoctrilihum's "Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath"
Okay, this one was at the top of a few lists. I can see how many people would like this... but I just couldn't enjoy the album at all aside from scattered pieces and parts. I heard most of this before... with less strained and squeezed vocals, and the production is somehow really annoying and obnoxious in my view. I'm going to guess the guy is really young. It's not bad... some unusual compositions and an adventurous use of synth... but nothing deserving anywhere as much praise as it is getting. I'd give this maybe a 65 out of 100 for effort mostly. Some editing could have helped enormously (it's a long album, about 76 minutes); if he had others around him to control his impulses this could have well become a more impressive and well-rounded 40 minute album.
Stormkeep's "Tales of Othertime"
Reading some reviews online it's as if this band is giving out free blowjobs it's so damn good... one guy even wrote someplace that it made him rediscover metal. The label itself - Van - is out of records and had to put a notice on their site for people to stop ordering more until it is reprinted. I wouldn't go nearly as far with this crazy hype and fandom. In truth, this is generally positive sounding, upbeat black/fantasy metal bordering at times on power metal (like the unfortunate Runeshard album of this year) if stripped of its weighty production and intense blasts. Stylistically it aims for the old Norwegian sound (Dimmu/Emperor) with a bit of Bal Sagoth histrionics, but it lacks the originality and distinction of any of these bands. The vocals are plain and individual riffs aren't terribly memorable. I cannot deny, however, that this is a really well-crafted recording - almost impeccably put together, everything balanced out beautifully with little to no excess. The quality is unmistakable, even for someone as incredibly jaded as myself. Bertrand already raved about their EP. I wouldn't claim that this is amazing or life-altering, as there's nothing original about it if you've heard the bands above already, but it is good enough, with all its baggage, to join the club of most remarkable USBM of 2021. What more can one hope for in this year? Easy 75 out of 100.
Umesh Amtey has just shared a link of an archive of our work together from 1999-2001, find it here: Erebus Webzine. Erebus was one of the first zines I ever wrote in and represents exciting times for both of us. You'll find a lot of old articles, reviews and interviews in there, a few of which I edited and reused in the first few Convivial Hermit issues. All of the contact information is outdated and many links are broken but most of the material is accessible. I was just in my twenties when we started this, Umesh I think, too, and I think it shows in a lot of our (overly romantic, idealistic, maybe even pretentious at times) writing, some of which I'm rather embarrassed by today, but it is what it is, written back in the renegade, formative days of the internet before social media and other big corporations stuck their fingerprints and claws in every corner.
In another announcement, I want to suggest and recommend the Finnish movie Heavy Trip to readers. This is the first non-documentary movie on extreme metal I've watched that I think I can actually recommend to people, and is actually pretty hilarious in moments.
The 9th article for CH #10 will be started shortly, after which I'll finally get on some new interviews. Speaking of which, a very old Immolation interview will be included in #10; I've been on the fence about it for a long time but have finally decided it is worth it.
Working on my 6th article now. Maybe issue 10 will have more articles than interviews. While this is happening, I highly recommend checking out one of my better discoveries of this year, Condemnatio Cristi from Slovenia. I'm still unsure of the ideology of the band but At Peace With War and Dreamcrusher are both very good...
Five articles written so far for the next issue. Convivial Hermit will continue to buck the lazy and boring trend of interview-only zines as long as it continues to survive in this cruel and stupid world.
Happy Diwali to all Indian readers! May Kali cleanse this earth!
The Convivial Hermit Facebook page will be deleted permanently this month. Incredibly, FB has made the decision to FORCE people to wait a specified amount of time before doing this, which gives all the more reason to completely leave. I think I can speak for Bertrand when I say that we at Convivial Hermit extend a large middle finger to the face of Mark Zuckerberg and the millions of edgelord trolls, political extremists (both left and right), peddlers of lies and conspiracies, and irredeemable narcissists populating this toxic garbage site.
Not only do I support the mask mandate, I'd extend it to a full bag over the head, with a sock in the mouth. All joking (?) aside: I want to thank Owen of Cryptic Murmurings (UK) this day for sending me all 3 issues of his zine. From the pages I've seen so far it seems like a humorous and entertaining creation, suffused with the underground spirit (including a warning that no spellcheck is used!). Mor exploratian to kome...
The 3 Apolion Genocide's demos from the 90s were my favorite discoveries from 2020. Now they are setting up for the next album and it sounds... fucking... great! Listen to it here! My plan is to interview them and Blestema for the next issue... if they both agree, of course! All hail the Colombian gods...
New Funeral preview tracks stink... this is a different band completely from when Einar was involved. And new Mulla album (band whose release topped my Top list for 2020) and single is the worst crap they ever recorded. Rift comeback album uninteresting... Apophis a disappointment minus one track and a few riffs on another. Runeshard and Famishgod returns both mediocre. Dornenreich recorded their worst album, Darkthrone down the tubes, Unleashed new album a joke... Mesarthim completely boring copy and paste of the past, Sickle of Dust least interesting album to date... 2021 metal fucking BLOWS...
Slowly zine reviews are adding up for #10 but thus far I have not yet started any interviews. I like to do all of them in quick succession but feel it's not yet time. It's hard to get inspired with so many disappointing reunion albums and comebacks and the generally very low quality of newer bands spilling forth on the market... 2021 has been a total crap year for new music, generally speaking.
Fuck Facebook and social media. As simple as that. I was hoping it would be down permanently... but it went back up. Such a shame.
Convivial Hermit Magazine wishes all readers a happy Blasphemy Day. CFI has set up a page where donations can be made to support the fight against enemies of reality poisoning life on this world today; donations can be made here: Secular Rescue. If you reach a certain threshold you become a member and receive a subscription to Free Inquiry or Skeptical Inquirer magazines, both superb publications challenging false traditional beliefs and intuitions and championing objectivity and scientific facts.
Anyone who has read Convivial Hermit from the beginning knows how much I love Skepticism and the early Finnish metal scene. Today listened to the new Skepticism album and it does not disappoint. Very interesting and eclectic creation pointing to an earlier time and perhaps a parallel dimension when metal did not become so over-saturated and generic as much of it is now. Another achievement, and a victory.
Hells Headbangers have restocked all available issues. I see the rare reprint of the first issue was already snatched up! Makes me wonder whether I should reprint them officially, along with issues 2 and 3...
What a weekend for American black metal... both Wolves In The Throne Room and Woman Is The Earth release new albums, both on the same day. WITE picked up from Thaw (unfortunately) with the same rather sterile execution, mastered by Plotkin now, moving further from their roots... I congratulate them for steering their ship in a new direction to find their voice, but WITE's amped up post-hardcore sound (some say "blackgaze" but I hear Neurosis here mainly) is no longer of interest to me. WITTR, meantime, bring forth what I consider their best album to date. Never feeling the hype of this Olympian band over the years I was uncharacteristically moved by the Mountain Magick song online and the rest of the tracks prove to be of no less epic quality! Relapse obviously invested a lot into this album as shown in the beautiful layout (and in contrast to the bare bones WITE presentation of one panel digipak) and recording quality. Damn nice, overall. Congrats to both of them, even if WITE have now left me behind.
Finally received the new version of Convivial Hermit #9 from England and it looks spectacular! The A4 format is unquestionably superior to the American 8x11 letter format in multiple ways. I suppose I'll enumerate the pros and cons. Cons first, all minor: no glossy cover and not as much clarity in the fonts as in the original, but larger fonts cancel this out; paper is also thinner than I expected. Not a big deal. Pros: thicker and deeper black ink, larger pages, a good 30 grams lighter, all of the improvements discussed before with images and text. Pros outweigh the cons for sure, and it's only to be expected that every printer is a little different than the other. I'll say it again, if you are in the UK or ordering from CND, check it out. Great job to the printers and Dayal for all of his work, thank you.
I despise summer and cannot wait for it to end. I'm counting the days until the cold winds blow and the noisy meat outside is sucked back indoors. In the meantime, for an autumn mood I highly recommend to my follow hermits to check Ornamentos del Miedo's 2nd album here. Quite a worthy follow up from this great band! I recommend it.
Restock at Hell's Headbangers of issues 9, 8 and 7 (last copies) coming in a week or two. There will also be a copy of the rare issue 1. Ask them to reserve if you are interested.
Issue #7 is now officially sold out from my side. Thanks to everyone for your support!
Just discovered this old release from 1996. I cannot recommend this enough... somehow Arcturus's Aspera Hiems Symfonia comes to mind, maybe with a bit of Hieronymous Bosch. Newer bands wish they could write one riff that this band writes a hundred of in this album. Awesome...
A lot of news this week. The latest today is that all available issues of Convivial Hermit will soon be in stock in Sunshine Ward Recordings in New Jersey. This is a fairly young American label with a very decent selection of cassettes and other formats at good prices. Check it out and support them!
2nd print run of Convivial Hermit #9, in A4 format, is now available from Cult Never Dies in the UK! This is a new version with larger fonts and images, typo fixes, several layout improvements and the missing Infernal Curse interview. Order now here! I will update the latest issue section later with a link.
Brand new interview (in French) with Convivial Hermit has just been published in Obskure Magazine . Greetings to all French readers! The saga continues, tout à fait...
As we continue to review new zines we are excited to report that Waldhalla has made a return with issue 5, one of the finest German zines around! We encourage all our German readers to pick up this excellent magazine now - Bestellt sofort, ihr Arschlöcher!
Drakkar Records in France have agreed to stock Convivial Hermit issues 8 and 9. Thanks to Noktu for a very simple and easy transaction. The issues should be available in several weeks in his distro. Merci Noktu, et Vive la France!
While the new edition of Convivial Hermit #9 is rolling in the print shop, I want to make several new recommendations to my readers:
The new Dimentianon "Dreaming Yuggoth" from my friend Mike from Paragon Records is easily the best recording the band has ever made, recalling the best atmospheric US death metal works from the 90s with a touch of old Gathering (Netherlands). I highly recommend it!
Also I have been completely absorbed with Blestema and Animas Defunctorum from Colombia (both headed by the same person). I have rarely heard BM sound as genuine and beautiful as this in recent years! This is pure BM, no bullshit, early second wave worship on steroids with vocals reminding of fucking Xharathorn from Spain, one of my faves from the mid-90s. Huge recommendation.
After many years of losing touch I am back in contact with my old brother in metal Ray Miller of Metal Curse Zine/Cursed Productions/Adversary. Ray published my first ever interview in Metal Curse back in 1997 or so. After so long I was glad to see that he is alive and well and still listening to the good stuff. Go check out his page and catalog, it hasn't been updated in a while but it is all up to date, you might find something rare and interesting: http://cursedproductions.com/
P.S. Files for Convivial Hermit #9.0.1 (A4 Edition) have been approved and are on their way to the shop in the UK!
Convivial Hermit #9, A4 edition will be available this summer via Cult Never Dies, pre-order available now here: Convivial Hermit #9! Photos pictured are from the old version which is smaller than the new one. New version has not been printed yet! Will put a notice up as soon as it's available.
A small update on the most depressing day of the year with the beginning of dreaded summer in the northern hemisphere. Our list of reviewed zines is growing, with a big pile of zines still waiting to be read. I am still working with Dayal on the technicalities of printing up the A4 version. It seems like it's still a go but facing delays. Listening to Agalirept's 1997 and 1999 demos, Thor's Hammer discography, Norden and the new Graveland to get me in a wintry mood... though before long I'll probably be putting on Disgorge and Deeds of Flesh as my regular summer listening... the higher the temperature, the more brutal the sound must be, naturally!
Updated the distro list which has been out of date for a while.
Completed the A4 version of Convivial Hermit 9. The layout has been reshaped for the taller pages, missing Infernal Curse interview incorporated, a few interview layouts revamped, several typoze fixed, contents page fixed, fonts made larger throughout all pages, a few of the full page ads updated, web site address added to the CH ads - an overall better presentation, I think. Probably will have to do some changes to the covers or border image before it gets accepted in the shop in England, we'll see...
Rest In Peace to Jack at Noise Pollution in downtown Philly. He was a fighter to the end, always kind to me when I dropped in with my shit to sell. Hopefully the legacy lives on in some way or other in the future and the space is not converted to some trendy Yogurt shop or phone store.
A bit shocked to see that Darkthrone is preparing on their next album to rip off the art from Zephyrous's timeless 1994 classic, Entrance and Wandering on the Seven Zones! Sure, given enough time another artist would have blindly made use of this image, but Darkthrone must have been aware of its antecedents? To see this art on another moronic improvised/drunken Motorhead/Celtic Frost rip off album of sloppy crap riffs with asinine lyrics about graves of the 80s and minimum wage working class is too much for me to bear... at the very least I can hope that they return to some semblance of their 2nd wave roots? Though I think that is next to impossible. Did I just alienate everyone reading this? How about this: Darkthrone hasn't recorded a decent album in 20 years and should have done what Zephyrous did in the late 90s and quit before it got any worse, which it did.
2021.01.19The limited Convivial Hermit #9.1 booklet is sold out as of today. I've put a link in the Latest Issue section for those who'd like to download the PDF.
2021.01.18Received an amazing new package from one of my favorite labels, Pest Productions from China! Already listened to half of the material and even the stuff that I don't like tends to be interesting! New Holyarrow is KILLER and finally have the last Zuriaake and Pilgrim Soul In You (my favorite neofolk find from last year) on CD which makes me happy. Was impressed also with Dopamine, Vengeful Spectre and (surprise) the final Tengger Cavalry album. So much superb stuff... a good part will be reviewed. Deng, never give it up, my brother! Find the Pest site here: Pest Productions
2021.01.09As the country rebounds from a failed coup attempt, and we all slide deeper into the bowels of insanity, we bring news just a tad brighter: Hell's Headbangers will soon be restocking issues 1, 7, 8, and 9, and Klaxon Records from California has just placed an order (the check en route to us for months!) for the latest issue. We thank these Proud Patriots for their service. We love you. You're very special!
2021.01.01Happy new year to all readers! We won't complain about 2020; instead, we'll offer our list of top albums which you can catch in the About section.