Blake Judd

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For the filmmaker of the same name, see Blake Judd (filmmaker).
Blake Judd
Nachtmystium by Christian Misje 02.jpg
Blake Judd performing with Nachtmystium at Hole In The Sky - Bergen Metal Fest 2008
Background information
Birth name Blakely Judd[1]
Born (1982-11-13) November 13, 1982 (age 34)
Origin Wheaton, Illinois, United States
Genres Black metal, psychedelic rock, experimental rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass
Years active 1995–2015
Labels Battle Kommand Records
Associated acts Nachtmystium
Twilight
Website Battle Kommand Homepage

Blake Judd (born November 13, 1982) is an American musician and co-founder of Battle Kommand Records. Formerly the lead vocalist and front-man of the metal band Nachtmystium, Judd has also contributed to musical acts and projects such as Twilight, Krieg, and Hate Meditation. He previously performed under the stage name "Azentrius". Judd’s heroin addiction was publicly exposed in 2013 after he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor theft. His reputation was further damaged when fans, band mates, and business partners openly accused Judd of conducting fraudulent business practices. Judd later admitted to deceiving fans and left the music industry in 2014.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Judd was raised in Wheaton, Illinois, and took an early interest in music due to his parents' taste in classic rock.[2][3] He saw The Allman Brothers Band perform live when he was in the second grade, and cites it as a major influence on his musical career.[3] Judd took up the guitar when he was twelve years old, and began to listen to heavy metal shortly later.[4]

Musical career[edit]

He began playing in bands in his late teens He served as the vocalist and guitarist for Ezurate and in the now-defunct thrash and black metal band Helms Deep.[4] In his spare time, he worked at Metal Haven, a heavy metal record store in Chicago.[5] Judd eventually founded Nachtmystium with a friend as a side-project, which he originally operated out of his parents' basement.[4][6] He started to become more involved in Nachtmystium, then a raw black metal band, after receiving positive feedback from his audience.[6] Judd incorporated psychedelic elements into the bands material, influenced by his love for progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd and The Allman Brothers,[7] while also using various black metal elements. Nachtmystium became Judd's primary focus and his most successful music project.[8]

Outside of Nachtmystium, Judd founded an independent record label, Battle Kommand Records, with Rebecca Clegg in St. Charles, Illinois.[4] In 2005, he was commissioned by the Swedish underground label Total Holocaust Records to create the black metal "supergroup" Twilight. Twilight featured Wrest from Leviathan, producer Sanford Parker, Stavros Giannopoulos of The Atlas Moth, Imperial of Krieg, Malefic of Xasthur, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.[9] Additionally, Judd was a session musician on Krieg's final album Blue Miasma (2006). Judd for many years performed under the pseudonym "Azentrius".[3] Also, Judd played guitar on Obscurus Advocam's 2007 album Verbia Daemonicus.

In 2013, after advising that Nachtmystium was on "something of a hiatus",[9] Judd announced that his new band, Hate Meditation, would be his "main focus".[9] Hate Meditation featured Judd on vocals and guitar, Wrest on bass, Job Bos of Dark Fortress on synth, and Sam Shroyer of Vitandus on drums.[9] The band signed a two-album deal with Indie Recordings and released its debut album, Scars, in 2013.[9]

Judd often voiced critical opinions towards modern black metal. In an interview with MetalReviews.com, he claimed, "most bands are just carbon copies of each other, musically, lyrically, image-wise, and ideologically although I question how big and evil half these maggots are".[10] Judd voiced a similar opinion in an interview with The Metal Crypt, stating "Fuck modern black metal. There are a few good bands, but there are millions of horrible clones and over rated bands that are doing nothing new."[11] However in a 2008 interview with The Daily Herald, he claimed to respect what he viewed as "real" black metal,[4] and added "as a fan of black metal, I'm offended by someone who calls their music black metal and incorporates outside elements."[4] While Nachtmystium was originally founded as a black metal band, Judd insisted the band had "left the black metal scene" after 2004. In an interview with Thrashpit.com, Judd stated, "It was cool at first but we're really not a traditional 'spikes and paint' band."[3][12]

Personal life[edit]

Judd's musical career was abruptly halted when he was arrested on October 5, 2013 and faced misdemeanor theft charges.[1][13][14] He admitted to stealing and pawning his roommate’s guitar while trying to buy heroin.[15] Judd had previously openly admitted to using cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana and other recreational drugs since he was a teenager.[16] [17][18] However, Judd alleges he began using heroin after he severely injured his leg in 2009 and a doctor prescribed opioids to help him cope with pain.[15] Judd purchased medication with opiates from the black market when his prescription had expired and later regularly abused heroin while touring with Nachtmystium.[15] Before Judd's arrest, Century Media Records, Nachtmystium's label at the time, paid to send him to a drug rehabilitation clinic in Los Angeles operated by MusiCares.[15] Judd claims the therapy was initially helpful, but he relapsed after embarking on a tour.[15]

Judd (left) performing with Nachtmystium in 2008.

Judd disbanded Nachtmystium on November 13 after the band finished recording their final studio album, The World We Left Behind.[19] Judd thanked Nachtmystium's fans for their support over the band's 13-year run and then retreated from his music career to seek additional treatment for his heroin addiction.[20][21][22] Judd was encouraged by his fans' support during this period and considered reforming Nachtmystium to pursue future musical projects.[23][24] In July 2014, Judd re-entered the music industry as an online re-seller of heavy metal albums and band merchandise.[25]

A few months later, fans accused Judd of withholding merchandise that they had purchased from his Facebook storefront. Judd defended himself by stating that Century Media Records did not provide him with sufficient amounts of albums and merchandise for distribution.[25] Nachtmystium's Facebook storefront was suddenly taken down and fans were not given closure about their orders.[25] Century Media Records ultimately announced that they would provide a copy of the band's latest album to fans with a proof of purchase, and that they were parting ways with Judd and Nachtmystium.[26]

On September 10, Neill "Imperial" Jameson, one of Judd's former band mates and close friends, released an article for Vice Media detailing his first-hand accounts of Judd's heroin addiction. Jameson accused Judd of cheating him and his fellow Twilight band mates out of money on numerous occasions. He also alleged that Judd was accepting purchase orders from fans and then pocketing the money with no intention of providing them with merchandise.[27] Yosuke Konishi, owner of Nuclear War Now! Productions, publicly accused Judd of withholding several albums that he had purchased in 2012.[25] Another business partner, Alexandre Martinez of Deadlight Entertainment, alleged that Judd commissioned him to produce Nachtmystium merchandise and press albums, but never paid for the services.[28][25]

Judd later admitted to defrauding several customers in order to feed his heroin addiction.[15] Judd terminated his online business and became homeless without a source of income.[15] He lived in a homeless shelters before finally seeking drug rehabilitation therapy in October 2015. Judd eventually left Chicago to stay with relatives in Louisville, Kentucky and continue his rehabilitation.[15][29] He openly addressed his victims and fans in January 2016 to apologize for his wrongdoings.[30][31] While Judd has stated he does not have plans to record or produce new music in the future, he announced that Earache Records had acquired the rights to redistribute Nachtmystium's studio albums. He also announced the label would release a new compilation album, titled Retox: Remixes and Rarities, which contains previously unreleased demo and cover tracks from Nachtmystium and Twilight.[32] Judd uploaded a copy of the album onto YouTube for fans to stream for free.[33] He released the following statement: "Thank you all for your patience and I do hope to make things right with everyone I can who fell victim to my addiction issues by not receiving orders for music or merchandise. I intend on giving away every single record and CD I receive of these reissues, if that’s what it takes, to make things right with the fans whom I wronged and did not fulfill orders for."[32]

Equipment[edit]

Judd playing live in 2008
  • Gibson SG Standard (D tuning)
  • BC Rich Mockingbird
  • Sunn Model T reissue
  • Emperor 6 by 12 cab w/ vintage 30s Celestion Speakers

Pedals[edit]

  • Digitech Digidelay
  • Moogerfooger MF-104Z delay
  • Boss TU-2 Tuner
  • Dunlop Crybaby Wah

Select discography[edit]

With Nachtmystium[edit]

With Twilight[edit]

  • Twilight (2005)
  • Monument To Time End (2010)

With Krieg[edit]

  • Blue Miasma (2006)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Individual Inmate Report". www2.cookcountysheriff.org/. Cook County Sheriff's Office. 2013-10-05. Archived from the original on 2013-10-11. Retrieved 2014-09-13. 
  2. ^ Neilstein, Vince (2008-07-01). "INTERVIEWS NACHTMYSTIUM'S BLAKE JUDD". metalsucks.net. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hensch, Mark (2008). "Nachtmystium Interview". thrashpit.com. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Pizek, Jeff (2008-06-20). "Nachtmystium shines black light on black metal". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  5. ^ Fisher, Trevor (2008-01-30). "Judd's Dread". illinoisentertainer.com. Illinois Entertainer. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Genghis Tron & Nachtmystium Part II". Youtube. Contraband Candy. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  7. ^ Gendron, Bob (2008-06-01). "Nachtmystium's new album". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  8. ^ Babiolakis, Andreas (2014-08-08). "BLAKE JUDD: NEW NACHTMYSTIUM AND THE SEPARATION OF THE ARTIST AND THE ART". Live in Limbo. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Nelson, Michael (17 March 2013). "The Genocide March". Stereogum. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 
  10. ^ "Nachtmystium - Mar 2005". metalreviews.com. March 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  11. ^ Chris, Mitchell (2004-03-11). "Interview with Azentrius". metalcrypt.com. The Metal Crypt. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  12. ^ "2008 into 2009: Nachtmystium". Thrash Hits. 2008-12-06. 
  13. ^ "NACHTMYSTIUM Mainman Arrested On Theft Charges". blabbermouth.net. 2013-10-06. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  14. ^ Marshall, Wyatt (2013-10-07). "Nachtmystium". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "Blake Judd Gives First Interview in Two Years: "I Had So Many Opportunities to Get Better, but I Was Convinced That I Was Special"". Vice Media. 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 
  16. ^ "2008 into 2009: Nachtmystium". ThrashHits. 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  17. ^ Downing, Andy (2012-11-08). "Local Q&A: Nachtmystium". RedEye. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 
  18. ^ "Nachtmystium's Blake Judd Speaks Of His Dark Days On Heroin, Scamming Fans & More". The PRP. 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 
  19. ^ Teitelman, Bram (2013-11-03). "NACHTMYSTIUM'S BLAKE JUDD RELEASED FROM PRISON, ISSUES STATEMENT". Metal Insider. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  20. ^ Fisher, Jason (2013-11-13). "Nachtmystium Is No More". The Gauntlet. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  21. ^ Moore, Doug (2013-11-13). "Nachtmystium officially calls it quits in new statement". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  22. ^ "NACHTMYSTIUM Is Over, Says BLAKE JUDD". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  23. ^ Stewart, Benjie (2014-07-22). "Nachtmystium Interview". Metal Mayhem Underground. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  24. ^ Marshall, Wyatt (2014-07-31). "Blake Judd now says Nachtmystium isn't finished, but won't tour". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  25. ^ a b c d e Michael, Nelson (2013-10-03). "How Nachtmystium's Blake Judd Betrayed The Black Metal Community And Wound Up In Jail". Stereogum. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  26. ^ "Nachtmystium: pre-order label statement". Century Media. 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  27. ^ Jameson, Neill (2014-09-10). "NEILL JAMESON OF KRIEG ON BLAKE JUDD, NACHTMYSTIUM, AND THE SAD REALITIES OF ADDICTION". Vice Media. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  28. ^ Martinez, Alexandre (2014-09-11). "OFFICIAL STATEMENT". Deadlight Entertainment. Facebook. Archived from the original on 2014-09-13. Retrieved 2014-09-13. 
  29. ^ Simon, Laura (2016-08-02). "Interview: Blake Judd (NACHTMYSTIUM)". Play Dead Nation. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 
  30. ^ "Nachtmystium's Blake Judd resurfaces, says he's sober". lambgoat.com. 2016-01-10. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  31. ^ Kennelty, Greg (2016-01-11). "NACHTMYSTIUM's Blake Judd Claims He's Sobered Up & Done With Music". metalinjection.net. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  32. ^ a b O'Neill, Christina (2016-11-01). "Earache acquire Nachtmystium catalogue". Metal Hammer. TeamRock. Retrieved 2016-11-06. 
  33. ^ Rosenberg, Axl (2016-04-11). "Blake Judd Releases Nachtmystium Remixes/Rarities Collection, Vows to "Make Things Right" with Fans". MetalSucks. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 

External links[edit]