Blake Judd performing with Nachtmystium at Hole In The Sky - Bergen Metal Fest 2007
|Birth name||Blakely Judd|
|Born||November 13, 1982|
|Origin||Wheaton, Illinois, United States|
|Genres||Black metal, psychedelic rock, experimental rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass|
|Labels||Battle Kommand Records|
|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 was arrested in 2013 and charged with misdemeanor theft. Upon his release, he suspended his career to seek treatment for his heroin addiction. Judd's reputation was further damaged when fans, band mates, and business partners accused him of committing fraudulent business practices.
Judd was raised in Wheaton, Illinois, and took an early interest in music due to his parents' taste in classic rock. 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. Judd took up the guitar when he was twelve years old, and began to listen to heavy metal shortly later. He began playing in bands in his late teens, and served as the vocalist and guitarist for Ezurate and in the now-defunct thrash and black metal band Helms Deep. In his spare time, he worked at Metal Haven, a heavy metal record store in Chicago. Judd eventually founded Nachtmystium with a friend as a side-project, which he originally operated out of his parents' basement. He started to become more involved in Nachtmystium, then a raw black metal band, after receiving positive feedback from his audience. Judd incorporated psychedelic elements into the bands material, influenced by his love for progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd and The Allman Brothers, while also using various black metal elements.
Outside of Nachtmystium, Judd founded an independent record label, Battle Kommand Records, with Rebecca Clegg in St. Charles, Illinois. In 2005, he was commissioned by the Swedish underground label Total Holocaust Records to create the black metal "supergroup" Twilight. Twilight currently features Wrest from Leviathan, producer Sanford Parker, Stavros Giannopoulos of the Atlas Moth, Imperial of Krieg, Malefic of Xasthur, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Additionally, Judd was a session musician on Krieg's final album Blue Miasma (2006). Judd for many years performed under the pseudonym "Azentrius." Also, Judd played guitar on Obscurus Advocam's 2007 album Verbia Daemonicus.
In 2013, after advising that Nachtmystium was on "something of a hiatus", Judd announced that his new band, Hate Meditation, would be his "main focus". Hate Meditation features Judd on vocals and guitar, Wrest on bass, Job Bos of Dark Fortress on synth, and Sam Shroyer of Vitandus on drums. The band signed a two-album deal with Indie Recordings and plans to issue its debut album, Scars, in 2013.
Judd was arrested on October 5, 2013 on charges of misdemeanor theft by unauthorized control of property. After his release on November 1, Judd issued a statement detailing his legal struggles and battle with drug addiction. Judd stated that Nachtmystium had come close finishing their latest studio album, The World We Left Behind. Judd stated that he would be leaving the band and his residence in Chicago to focus on rehabilitation and recovery. Twelve days later, on his 31st birthday, Judd announced that Nachtmystium was officially disbanding and thanked his fans for their support over the band's 13-year run. Judd removed himself from Nachtmystium for nine months. He spent his time recovering from his heroin addiction and dealing with personal issues. On July 22, 2014, he stated that he planned on reforming Nachtmystium, but had no actual future plans for the band.
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. Nachtmystium's Facebook storefront was suddenly taken down and fans were not given closure about their orders. Century Media 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. 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. Yosuke Konishi, owner of Nuclear War Now! Productions, publicly accused Judd of withholding several albums that he had purchased in 2012. 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.
Judd has 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." 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." However in a 2008 interview with The Daily Herald, he claimed to respect what he viewed as "real" black metal, and added "as a fan of black metal, I'm offended by someone who calls their music black metal and incorporates outside elements." 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."
- Gibson SG Standard (D tuning)
- BC Rich Mockingbird
- Sunn Model T reissue
- Emperor 6 by 12 cab w/ vintage 30s Celestion Speakers
- Digitech Digidelay
- Moogerfooger MF-104Z delay
- Boss TU-2 Tuner
- Dunlop Crybaby Wah
- Reign of the Malicious (2002)
- Demise (2004)
- Instinct: Decay (2006)
- Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1 (2008)
- Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II (2010)
- Silencing Machine (2012)
- Twilight (2005)
- Monument To Time End (2010)
- Blue Miasma (2006)
- "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.
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- Martinez, Alexandre (2014-09-11). "OFFICIAL STATEMENT". Deadlight Entertainment (Facebook). Archived from the original on 2014-09-13. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
- 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.
- "Nachtmystium - Mar 2005". metalreviews.com. March 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
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- "2008 into 2009: Nachtmystium". Thrash Hits. 2008-12-06.