Staff pick: Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd seeks out catharsis through music

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From the October 10, 2013 edition

UPDATE: This show has been canceled due to Blake Judd’s ongoing legal troubles.

Chicago metal overlords Nachtmystium have undergone more life cycles than “Futurama’s” Dr. Zoidberg in that episode where he’s exposed to chroniton-infused tar and begins to de-age. In just more than a decade, the band, which consists of frontman Blake Judd and whoever the hell he feels like playing with at the moment (the “Former Member” list on the band’s Wikipedia site contains more than 20 names), has flirted with everything from psychedelic rock (Assassins: Black Meddle, Part I) to industrial (Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II) to more pared-down black metal so bleak it feels as though it could suck the colors out of any room it’s played in (Silencing Machine).

Though the music itself is forever evolving, Judd’s songs have tended to stem from the same dark place, and he’s written extensively about his addictions to drugs and alcohol, his failed relationships and the inner-demons that have plagued him from childhood. With last year’s Silencing Machine, however, he somehow let a single ray of light pierce the black, singing (well, howling, really), “Somehow I know something better awaits me!” Though at the moment this might seem far off — earlier this month Judd was arrested on charges of theft — expect the frontman to continue seeking out catharsis through music until that day arrives.