Blake Judd’s influential black metal outfit Nachtmystium were well known for their unique production and psychedelic instrumental-driven influences, alongside Judd’s numerous controversies, which have plagued the band throughout the last decade. The performer has now stated that he will no longer be releasing music as Nachtmystium again and has hinted that he will be leaving the black metal genre in general, to focus on a career as a licensed drug rehabilitation counselor in California. While he will no longer use Nachtmystium as a name, he expressed his intent to continue making music outside of the genre.
Judd explained that he began to question his role in the album while working on the third part of the group’s Black Meddle series, which had its final release Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II, a decade ago. As they continued making music to the project, Judd revealed that he could no longer find lyrics or sonic themes that would fit in with the band’s name and legacy.
“The more we are beginning to see the full picture of what we’re putting together, especially when it started to be getting closer to the time I need to start considering lyrics and art ideas recently….the more it’s become increasingly clear to me that I am not the person today who created all those Nachtmystium records, that I’m in an entirely different mindset,” he elaborated.
Nachtmystium first experienced trouble in 2013, after Judd was arrested for theft, which Judd claims was due to pawning a guitar. The group announced their break up a month later on Facebook, while their final album The World We Left Behind was released the following year. During this time Judd also faced accusations of stealing from fans and ripping them off for merchandise, which he also admitted in this statement.
“I’d deceived and screwed over fans trying to order merchandise,” Judd explained. “And at the end of it all, I got arrested in October, 2013 and caught a felony conviction for pawning a guitar (so I could feed my habit while recording The World We Left Behind, ironically enough), and then after 30 days in jail and having the whole ordeal broadcast across the internet by MetalSucks and the likes, I spent two years homeless, on probation, unable to leave the city of Chicago…a place where I didn’t have a friend in the world at that point, no opporunities, nowhere to stay.”
During the statement Judd also apologized to the fans who were scammed after attempting to purchase merchandise. He also references a statement made by the outfit in 2017, where they claimed to have refunded the fans who never received merch.
“For anyone who got stiffed on the merch stuff years ago, we did our best to reach out to all of you and refund as many of you as possible a few years back,” Judd continued. “I know we didn’t get everyone, but we did our best – and regardless of if you ever were contacted by us & refunded or not – I’d like to take this final opportunity to say, truly from the bottom of my heart, that I’m sorry for cheating any of of you of out of your money in hopes of getting a tshirt or a record.”
The band later formed once again with a new lineup, and even released an EP back in 2018, which Judd says was the final recording the band had made since their break up in 2013. The artist stated that as he continued to work on the project, he realized that Nachtmystium could no longer sound like it had previously, as it represented another point in time for him. He also explained that the name carries a lot of baggage, due to a large amount of gossip which spread throughout the metal community.
“I see life through a completely different, much more positive, healthy, and drug free lens today, and Nachtmystium – for the majority of it’s existence – represented a raw picture of that part of my life (the part representing my issues with addiction),” he elaborated. “That part of my life, thankfully, has been corrected today, and that past is a part of my life that I’m not particularly proud and that comes with a lot of baggage…just like the name Nachtmystium.”
While Judd’s statements reference the numerous controversies the band faced prior to his sobriety in 2015, he did not mention the band’s recent 2018 controversy. That year Judd was once again accused of stealing from fans who had purchased merchandise, and was also accused of a no-call, no-show cancellation at a metal venue in Los Angeles.
Read his full statement below:
“After many long hours of thinking and careful consideration over the last month or so, I have come to the decision to immediately end all activities related to my bands NACHTMYSTIUM and HATE MEDITATION and cease any and all further activities in the future, entirely, under either band name or as a recognizable solo artist.
When I do release new music, it’s going to be anonymously more than likely, and will be far, far from the realms of metal music anyways, so it won’t matter much either way, I suppose.
This may come at a strange time, as we’ve been posting photos of Jean Graffio (drummer) and I (Blake Judd) working on recording a new Nachtmystium album very recently….it was tentatively going to be the third (and final) record in the ‘Black Meddle‘ series, with the artistic reasoning behind this ‘return to the series’, ten years since its predecessor (2010’s ‘Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II‘ LP) being that we were attempting to be carving, yet again, a new musical path of our own making and stepping way outside of our comfort zone in a way so significantly noticeable, we felt that it would make sense for this collection of new songs we’ve been working on to be released under the ‘Black Meddle‘ series because the new material, we felt, was going to be radical enough in terms of being completely unlike anything we’ve done before, just as we felt about what we achieved on ‘Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. I‘ and ‘Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II‘, and hence why this new collection of material was going to be labeled and released as such, part of the ‘Black Meddle‘ series.
As we’ve continued to work on this new, very unusual material, I have personally really begun to struggle to “connect the dots” between what Nachtmystium‘s done musically, what it has represented ideologically & thematically over the years, and the person who made all those early recordings prior to my getting sober in 2015…..and what we are working on here in June, 2020 and have been working on for about six months now.
(the three track / 25 minute long “Resilient” EP released on Prophecy Productions in late 2018 is the only recording Nachtmystium has made since August, 2013 when we finished ‘The World We Left Behind‘ LP.) These feelings have only intensified as we’ve delved further down whatever creative path it is Jean and I have been on since beginning our first attempts to make new material since early 2017, this year.
The more we are beginning to see the full picture of what we’re putting together, especially when it started to be getting closer to the time I need to start considering lyrics and art ideas recently….the more it’s become increasingly clear to me that I am not the person today who created all those Nachtmystium records, that I’m in an entirely different mindset.
I see life through a completely different, much more positive, healthy, and drug free lens today, and Nachtmystium – for the majority of it’s existence – represented a raw picture of that part of my life (the part representing my issues with addiction) That part of my life, thankfully, has been corrected today, and that past is a part of my life that I’m not particularly proud and that comes with a lot of baggage…just like the name Nachtmystium.
The icing on the cake for me making this decision recently came when, while really trying to make my final decision on all of this last night, after this had been consuming my thoughts entirely for the last week straight…totally by chance – I came across a recent (April, 2020) little gem of internet ugliness on some forum type place on the wonderful world wide web, and it had been interacted with or responded to several hundred times in the 8 or so weeks it’s been visible, and it is full of the same insanity I’ve dealt with from total fucking strangers for years now…totally insane, intentionally negative, speculation or complete falsities about the current state of my life (or the state of my life since about 2014, in fact, when I chose to remove myself from social media for a few years and have only somewhat returned to it in the years since getting clean in late 2015 / early 2016) It was one thing when I was putting myself out there on stages and in vans / buses, choosing to make myself accessible to people and journalists and the likes, both on and off stage, for years….I asked for the attenion, both good and bad, that I received.
But in the recent years, I’ve gone out of my way to ‘stay in my lane’ with Nachtmystium, try to be really quiet in general and, if I’ve chosen to speak, to do my best to show that I’ve truly been humbled by what I put my fans, my friends and my family all went through with my heroin addiction that lasted a decade before it finally was brought under control and has remained that way since.
I’m currently in the process of becoming a licensed drug counselor / therapist here in California. Today, as part of my personal recovery, I try to give back whatever I can because of all that was given to me personally by people who helped navigate me back to reality in the recovery world when I was first getting cleaned up.
Believe it or not, this is the person I’ve worked extremely hard over the last four years to try and become today. It’s a work in a progress, and there is always room for improvement…but the person I am today is night-and-day different than the person I was when i was making the majority of the Nachtmystium body of work.
So – to bring this full circle – to have these facts about my life be what i can say is truly representative of the person I’ve worked really hard to become today – with these facts being just that – facts -, for me to stumble across several hundred people engaging with some asshole stranger who doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, commenting about what they think I may or may not be up to in my personal life in recent years….speculating that I’m still using drugs or people making insane false claims about having interactions with me where they’ve purchased drugs from myself or my fiancee (another thing that has literally never happened, in any form whatsoever…not even once.)
in recent years here where I live in California since going through rehab and everything, among other absolutely untrue, nasty falsities about myself and my fiancee, many of which could be potentially extremely damaging to my personal life in a number of ways, both professionally and socially.
The fact that someone took the time to write that, and 300-something people had read enough of it to interact with the post in some way, along with pages and pages of comments…still, in 2020, rehashing the most unpleasant parts of my personal, private life from six, seven, eight years ago….I’ve decided I’m finally absolutely done fueling this fire.
It’s been long enough. If I don’t know you personally, or haven’t been in direct contact with you for several years on the internet assuming we don’t know one another personally in the real world, then after today – sorry, but I will not be accessible to anyone anymore regarding anything to do with Nachtmystium, Twilight, Hate Meditation or black metal music in general.
I can’t stand whats become of the name Nachtmystium, and the baggage finally weighs too much. Maybe the haters won, maybe not – because I’m doing this on my terms with absolutely zero hesitation and only extreme excitement and relief about the whole situation and even more excited about what happens with this exciting new music we’ve been working on, especially now that I don’t have the stresser of knowing it’s going to be the name Nachtmystium when it’s done being affiliated with it.
This is a freedom I’ve longed for for years, and I’ve finally mustered up the balls to quit this band because I’ve wanted to do it for years and I finally am confident that i’m ready to let it go.
20 years has been enough and I’ve achived everything I’d ever hoped to and so much more, and for all the amazing experiences and the privilege of getting to stand in front of large crowds who knew my music…I’ll be forever grateful. What an experience.
Nachtmystium has always represented the ugly side of me, though. That’s what it’s always been about..always . As the band matured and I went from being a teenager to being an adult, I stayed honest in my expressions which went from being about disdain for authority and religion more towards being a conduit of truth (probably the only one in my life for many years regarding this very personal subject, honestly…) for me in a world of deceptions of my own makings while struggling with addiction over the years.
First, it was years of excessive cocaine and drinking, then followed by nearly 9 years of intravenous heroin use / addiction during which I gave away everything I ever had in exchange for the experience. I made an ass of myself publicly. I lost everything I ever owned or sold it. My friends and family hated me, and rightfully so at the time.
I’d deceived and screwed over fans trying to order merchandise. And at the end of it all, I got arrested in October, 2013 and caught a felony conviction for pawning a guitar (so I could feed my habit while recording “The World We Left Behind“, ironically enough), and then after 30 days in jail and having the whole ordeal broadcast across the internet by MetalSucks and the likes, I spent two years homeless, on probation, unable to leave the city of Chicago…a place where I didn’t have a friend in the world at that point, no opporunities, nowhere to stay.
That was reality for two years. It changed me down to my core in ways that nothing else ever has, ever could or most likely, ever will. And I’m grateful as hell for every single minute of it, because it helped me become who I try to be today. After all that, I finally had had enough and went to rehab in October, 2015.
Since that ended, I’ve used my own bare hands to crawl out of that hole I put myself in. Nachtmystium was always the representation of that hole, which grew out of control over the years and Nachtmystium was always seemingly mixed up right in the middle of that “hole”, my addiction. It’s created almost urban legend-type stories that i now get to live with for the rest of my life, most of which are bullshit or horribly exagerrated, in certain circles of the metal community over the last 20 years and it’s followed me around whether I’ve been active or not, because….the internet never forgets.
Today, I’m officially stopping giving the metal world anything more to “remember” about me. The music we’ve been working on will be released with a different vocalist, under a different name, and you’ll more than likely never know it’s me if you’re listening to it some day. (which will also be unlikely, unless your tastes extend far outside the realms of metal music, which will be whatever this music we are working on’s new home will be found, somewhere.) And that’s just fine with me.
I got my taste of what I thought i always wanted…some bullshit ‘rockstar’ dream from when i was a kid. Turns out, thats the last thing I wanted in the long run, and today, I’m ready to be someone unassociated with this chapter of my life any longer. I’ve been eagerly awaiting it. I’ve feared taking this step for years…and I finally am ready to do it and feel great about it.
So – to all of you that have supported us, stayed with us over the years, or maybe found the band since all the madness 6-7 years ago…either way…if you’re still here and reading this, thank you for the support and I truly hope our music will still be listened to for years to come and that it brings some enjoyment to any of those whom choose to check it out.
For anyone who got stiffed on the merch stuff years ago, we did our best to reach out to all of you and refund as many of you as possible a few years back. I know we didn’t get everyone, but we did our best – and regardless of if you ever were contacted by us & refunded or not – I’d like to take this final opportunity to say, truly from the bottom of my heart, that I’m sorry for cheating any of of you of out of your money in hopes of getting a tshirt or a record.
It was wrong then and it’s wrong now and I’m extremely sorry it happened. You can take that as you all will…I’m saying it here because this is my last time i’ll be making a public address of any type from the Nachtmystium podium and I’d like it to be one of the very last things I say to all of you, because I mean it.
All of our catalog is in print or available digitally and it’ll remain that way. There are no more new releases….”Resilient” will stand as Nachtmystium‘s swansong. I’ll leave this post with the last track from that release….a song about a life changing moment and the ascension that followed it….a moment, in fact, that’s lead me to right here…so there couldn’t be something more approporiate to leave you all with.
What a long, strange trip it’s been…it’s definitely better to burn out than to fade away. Thanks for the 20 years of madness.
So long, everyone.
Blake Judd / Nachtmystium
June 13, 2020″