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Sep 182016



Last night when I was just about to go to sleep I checked the NCS e-mail, and the most recent message sitting there was from an Argentinian magazine named Jedbangers telling me about a 3-hour interview of Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd they had conducted by phone in June, with a link to an excerpt of the interview they’ve recently uploaded to YouTube. Figuring that I would regret the decision, I chose to put off sleep long enough to start listening to it.

Having read so many despicable stories about the guy (including some from his former friends that weren’t intended for public consumption), I wondered why I would be bothering with it — but anyway, I started the YouTube clip, expecting to hear some self-serving bullshit. But before the interview started, these words appeared on the screen: Continue reading »

Sep 232015



(Andy Synn returns to an irregular series in which he shares favorite things that come in fives.)

I’ve not done one of these in a while it seems, so while I’m tinkering away on a few other bits and pieces (I’ve got an EP review in the pipeline for this week, as well as another Synn Report in-progress… and maybe one day soon I’ll even complete that column about the importance of lyrics… though don’t hold your breath for that) I thought I might as well just throw something together for the sheer hell of it!

So, ignoring the well-documented douchebaggery of Blake Judd (he’s a toxic cunt by all accounts… but damn, he can write some mighty fine drug-induced Black Metal jams when he wants to), here’s five of my favourite Nachtmystium songs from the Black Meddle-era. Continue reading »

Sep 252014


(Andy Synn delivers another installment of his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music, of course.)

Time for some more of your favourite bastardised poetry, courtesy of another edition of the world-famous Reviews in Haikus!

This time around we’ve got three bands all dressed in various shades of Black (Metal) for you to enjoy…



A huge step forward

Blistered vocals, blazing riffs

Burning black magic Continue reading »

Jul 312014


I’ve collected in this two-part post seven very good new songs from four bands that I heard for the first time yesterday. All the songs are from forthcoming albums, and as the title of the post suggests, most (but not all) of them incorporate elements of black metal into the music in varying degrees, and they are all shrouded in darkness. The cover art for each album is also really good. The bands are presented in alphabetical order (Part 2 will come next):


It was a sad day this past June when I learned that the Dutch band Mondvollond had decided to call it quits. Way back in January 2012 I lavished praise on Pestvogel, the band’s free, three-song EP that was my jumping on point. The title track in particular got its hooks in me, so much so that I included it in our list of 2012′s Most Infectiuous Extreme Metal Songs.

The knowledge that the band would be releasing a second album made the news of their dissolution somewhat easier to bear. The new album’s name is Kwade Vaart and it features wonderful cover art by Bob Mollema, who also created the great cover art for Pestvogel.

Two of the songs from the new album can be heard now, and they’re just as unusual and powerful as I would have expected. “Wanneer De Hemel Bloedt” begins slowly, with shimmering guitar notes, a booming bass, and clean vocals, and then rapidly escalates into a storm of tremolo-vibrating chords, thundering bass and drums, and caustic howls, with a piercing guitar melody. It’s an intense song, but no more so than the one that follows. Continue reading »

Jun 222014

Photo © Metal Chris

You may have noticed that I haven’t written anything for our site for a few days.  I’ve been hanging out with family and friends in Austin, Texas, the hallowed place of my birth.  There has been much eating, drinking, and merriment, but almost no time for metal. I’m thinking I can get back to my normal routine after getting back to Seattle tonight. But although I haven’t been listening to much music, I do have a few things to spread around today.


Today is the last day of HELLFEST in Clisson, France. The French site has been webcasting performances from the festival, and I thought I’d mention that Iceland’s Sólstafir will be performing today. As best I can figure, their set will start at 1:00 pm Pacific Time and 10:00 pm local time in Clisson.

I’ve seen Sólstafir perform live on a grand total of one occasion, but based on that experience I highly recommend you watch this.  I’ve embedded the stream player after the jump, but in case that doesn’t work for you, go HERE.

UPDATE:  Sólstafir’s set has obviously now been completed, but I’ve substituted the archived footage of the show after the jump. Continue reading »

Oct 112013

Hails and horns from sunny Southern California, where your humble editor has had his days and nights consumed by activities related to the old fuckin’ day job since Wednesday morning. This has viciously interfered with my ability to listen and write about metal. I will have a lot of catching up to do after I return to non-sunny Seattle tonight.

I did wake up early this morning in order to make a quick circumnavigation of the interhole in search of new things, and found some items worth talking about. I’m putting one of them in this post and will collect a few more in the next one, and after that I may have to resort to cat memes for the rest of the day. First item:

In a bit of perhaps unfortunate timing, I saw via a press release this morning that Plastik Musik will be releasing a vinyl split by an East Coast black metal band named Bitter Peace and Chicago’s Nachtmystium. I say “unfortunate timing”, of course, because of Blake Judd’s recent arrest for theft and the subsequent outpouring of criticism about Judd (vividly summarized here), which paints a portrait of a con man and ripoff artist.

Continue reading »

Apr 162013

Yesterday I reported that Chicago’s Nachtmystium had called it quits, deciding to go on hiatus for the foreseeable future after parting ways with its longtime lead guitarist Andrew Markuszewski and recording engineer/synth player Sanford Parker. My post was picked up by a lot of other on-line metal outlets. It appears I was wrong. This morning, Blabbermouth reported that Blake Judd had posted the following statement on his personal Facebook page:

“Apparently, some metal news sites have reported today that NACHTMYSTIUM has either ‘broken up’ or is on ‘indefinite hiatus’. Neither of these things are true. The band has gone through some personnel changes in the last few months and I’ve made the decision to cancel all of our summer tour / festival plans while the band regroups. Instead of touring, we will be writing and recording our next full-length album in the coming months, to be released on Century Media worldwide sometime in late 2013. Also, we have pulled our Facebook page offline to revise and update it (giving it a full overhaul with new photos from the past and the present, scans of interviews from magazines throughout the band’s 13 years of existence, etc.) … For the last time and for the record, NACHTMYSTIUM has NOT disbanded and is only on a hiatus in regards to playing shows.

I make it a point not to report rumors on this site; we’re not into gossip or band drama. I based what I wrote yesterday on a statement Blake Judd had made to Stereogum in March (saying that Nachtmystium was “on somewhat of a hiatus for the time being”), on an “official statement” from the band that appeared on the Facebook page of the Belgian metal festival Metal Méan (stating that “The remaining three bandmembers of NACHTMYSTIUM as of today are going to bring the band to a state of hiatus”), on the fact that Nachtmystium had pulled out of a number of European festivals and other concert appearances scheduled for this summer, and on the fact that Nachtmystium’s Facebook page had disappeared without explanation. Continue reading »

Oct 092012

(One of the most-read pieces we’ve ever published at NCS was BadWolf’s May 2011 interview of Blake Judd and his bandmates in Nachtmytium. This year brought us a new Nachtmystium album — Silencing Machine — and another BadWolf interview of Blake Judd, which follows.)

This interview happened on july fifth.


This interview sat on my hard drive for a few months, gumming up the works. Blake Judd was my first ‘break’ as a blogger on this very website. Since then he’s become one of my favorite people to work with (when you can keep him in one place for more than ten seconds). Honestly, I found that interview so hard to follow that I nearly deleted this one. But you deserve to hear it. Judd only gives excellent interviews, and his new album, Silencing Machine [reviewed here]  is likewise excellent.

Judd and I shot the shit for close to a half hour, talking about the cancellation of Gathering of Shadows fest, Roadburn, the new record, marriage, and what makes a good song.


BadWolf: The heat’s really fucking with me. I don’t know how people stand it.

Blake Judd: I was at South by Southwest earlier this year. Probably the tenth time I’ve been to Austin and I love that city, I’d love to live there. When it gets cold I keep saying to the wife we should move down there. Then you get a day like this? No way I could ever live somewhere this hot. Continue reading »

Sep 142012

One last post for this Friday, with a focus on recently announced U.S./Canada tours.

First, it was announced today that Nachtmystium will be headlining the Dawn Over the Ruins of America tour, which also includes Jarboe (featuring Baleyyg) and Canada’s Weapon. All of the dates have not yet been released, but the ones that have are after the jump. Also, although I know Jarboe used to be in Swans, that’s about the extent of my knowledge about her work, and I know zip about Baleyyg. So if anyone has any insights, leave a comment. Nachtmystium and Weapon, of course, are must-see bands for yours truly. (Thanks to Utmu and Vonlughlio for the tip about this one.)

Second, Boston’s mighty Revocation will be headlining a tour, and A Life Once Lost and KEN Mode will be along for that ride. I’ve almost lost count of how many times I’ve seen Revocation, because they tour like there’s no tomorrow, and every damned show has been killer. And if you saw tomorrow’s earlier post about ALOL, well, you know how I feel about them. KEN Mode is another band I am very interested in seeing. Those dates are also after the jump.

Third, Lambgoat is reporting that Dying Fetus will be touring late this year with Cattle Decapitation and Cerebral Bore in tow. There’s been no official announcement, but Lambgoat has ferreted out three venues where this line-up has been announced so far. I’ll just sum up my thoughts about this tour as follows: HELLS FUCKING YEAH! Continue reading »

Aug 032012

(In this review, BadWolf provides his take on the new album by Chicago’s Nachtmystium.)

What does it mean when Nachtmystium, a band whose success has sprung from breaking convention, releases a return-to-form? Silencing Machine, portentous title and all, disposes of the psychedelic and dance-rock elements of its predecessors, as well as much of frontman Blake Judd’s morbid introspection. Rather, its constant aggression and meditation on worldly issues recalls more of classic Metallica and Marduk than, say, Marillion.

I will say first that Nachtmystium mean a great deal to me personally—Black Meddle‘s One (Assassins) and Two (Addicts) both saw me through great personal tumult — and second, that my favorite thing about Blake Judd and his band of crusty ne’er-do-wells is their ability to take one sound per record and twist it into several unique permutations. A good psychedelic album takes you someplace—a good Nachtmystium album takes you several places.

So when I first heard Silencing Machine, I found it toothless. Most of the songs on Silencing Machine follow the general formula of Assassins’ title track: black metal intro, transition to groove section, optional return to black metal section, end. Nothing stuck with me besides the big, juicy chorus on the title track. For the first time, Nachtmystium bored me, and I anticipate it will bore many on first listen.

I urge you to listen several times—Blake Judd writes albums that take some digging to sink in. Silencing Machine proved a compelling ride when I gave it the opportunity. This year Nachtmystium took their lessons in atmosphere and rhythm from the previous two albums and applied them to an aggro black metal template. Continue reading »