Blake Judd, most known for creating the U.S. black metal project Nachtmystium, is still a con artist.
For those unaware of the years-long controversy surrounding Judd and Nachtmystium, this Noisey article from 2014 serves as a solid summary that is unfortunately still timely today. I recommend reading the article in its entirety, but here’s an excerpt:
For the last decade or so Blake Judd’s black metal project Nachtmystium was at the forefront of success in terms of US metal. Each record seemed to outpace the previous, and Blake was a critical and commercial darling with the whole “tortured genius” persona at his disposal. When Nachtmystium’s last album, Silencing Machine, hit Billboard, he received better and better offers for tours, recording, merchandise, etc. He held court over an enormous and rabid fanbase. The cliff notes version: Blake held the world by the balls and was poised to do incredible things. Instead, he pissed it all away because of a crippling drug problem—and years of solipsism way before he ever even held a needle.
For the last few years, Blake has been accused by dozens, if not hundreds, of fans regarding theft and Paypal fraud. He would post a list of dozens of rare black metal vinyl for massive collectors’ prices on his now defunct Facebook page. He also put up his own band’s new record as a “pre-order bundle” that included shirts and other nonsense. He collected thousands of dollars from people for these items. What’s the catch? Easy: The fucking items did not exist. When confronted about where these items which people paid him for were Blake would get defensive, delete their comments, and then ban them from the page in order not to deter the next round of rubes eager to send a paycheck and a message of support.
After an extended period of inactivity—Judd previously stated that he was done performing music—Nachtmystium is back, and Judd has been heavily promoting new merchandise on the project’s new Facebook page. He was also heavily touting refunds for prior merchandise that went undelivered.
I purchased a $45 signed merchandise bundle of Nachtmystium’s “The World We Left Behind” in 2014 and, like so many others, received nothing. By that time, Judd’s reputation was already nil, and it was obviously a poor decision on my part, but I digress. I reached out to the project’s listed email address for refunds in early August and never received a single response. I also repeatedly asked for updates on my refund on Nachtmystium’s Facebook page. There, I was assured that someone would be in contact with me shortly. I received similar promises when I asked for follow ups a few subsequent times, though there’s been only radio silence in the last few weeks.
A cursory scan of other comments on the project’s Facebook page read similarly. Some people seem to have had similar issues acquiring a refund, while others have not received merchandise that they have reportedly purchased. A few commenters have even said that Judd has abruptly canceled or skipped recent scheduled concert appearances. That said, I should note that other commenters have thanked Judd for refunds, though it is unclear how of those refunds were actually delivered or just promised.
Of course, the only claim I can verify is my own. Well, I could go and call every concert venue Nachtmystium was supposed to appear at, private message customers still trying to get refunds to compare experiences, and I could go analyze the Facebook page of every person that claims to have received a refund to see if they’re a shill or otherwise fake account. But that takes time I don’t have and I’m not getting paid to write this article. Also, as a metal fan, I have pretty much zero goodwill to spare for Judd and simply don’t want to dedicate any more creative energy covering his antics. There’s a reason I didn’t pitch this article for Metal Injection.
What I can say is that this kind of disingenuous behavior from Judd is not new, but it is unfortunate. I enjoy Nachtmystium’s music—I even named the extreme metal radio show I DJ’d in college “Silencing Machine”—and I’d truly love to see Judd sincerely try to amend for his past actions. But I’m still waiting for my refund, and there’s too much negative chatter on Nachtmystium’s Facebook page for me to assume that I’m an unlucky outlier.
I advise Nachtmystium fans to avoid purchasing anything from Judd directly. If you absolutely must own some kind of Nachtmystium merchandise, I recommend purchasing it from a legitimate record label or third party distributor. And if there are still any musicians, record labels or public relations representatives out there that are interested in signing, collaborating or otherwise working with Judd, I strongly urge you to consider the risks.