Love, Death, Immortality

This is what EDM should become. Since discovering The Glitch Mob a few years ago with Drink The Sea, I’d been eagerly awaiting their return. I knew it’d be a while, as what the three members that make up the group do is not your typical EDM scene. It’s much grittier, darker, and sounds like a different breed altogether. And since the remixes of Drink The Sea,as well as the short-lived We Can Make The World Stop EP in 2011, we’ve barely heard a peep from The Glitch Mob. The members, known to the public as edIT (Edward Ma), Boreta (Justin Boreta), and Ooah (Josh Mayer) have quietly made a few remixes here and there for other EDM artists, but overall, they’ve kept Love, Death, Immortality under wraps. What The Glitch Mob are to current and future EDM is what Daft Punk was to the world back in their heydey. And don’t try to tell me that because they won a Grammy that this is their heydey. If you think Random Access Memories is the best album from 2013, then you don’t listen to enough music. Furthermore, The Glitch Mob has released a record that, in every single way, blows its predecessors out of the water.

Known to many as a dark, expansive, glitchy style of EDM, The Glitch Mob puts their signature sound on display and cranks the volume past 11 on many of the album’s 10 cuts. The group stands firmly within the world of electronica, while incorporating several real instruments and toying regularly with more trance and high synths, as evidenced on a track like “Carry The Sun”. If you’ve ever listened to The Glitch Mob, you’ll undoubtedly know their signature by the grungy textures throughout songs, coupled with high-pitched synth. This is what makes their remixes so unique, because as a group they’re not simply remixing the track to turn it into a dance cut. They’re nearly recreating the track from scratch, with more of a deep, furious sound. There’s a lot of new elements throughout Love, Death, Immortality as well, most notably the finale, “Beauty of the Unhidden Heart” featuring the soft vocal style of Sister Crayon. The duo’s haunting vocals during the sleek breakdowns adds an element of mystery and calm, right before the bass and drums drop, and boy do they drop hard. Elsewhere, the kickoff for the album sets the tone, with a heavy dance style with a hint of sludge within the mass amount of dubstep breakdowns. But this isn’t Skrillex. This is the masters of turning EDM on its head. It’s dirty, gritty, and elegant, all rolled into one. “Mind of the Beast” is an appropriate and well-meaning title, where each calm before the storm is met ferociously by another dark drop.

“Our Demons” features accompanying vocals from Aja Volkman, and samples well into the deeply rooted nature of the cut. The glitchy sounds continue on the following track, “Skullclub”, with a solid driving force controlling the entire five and a half minute percussion-heavy song. The track is then suddenly broken up by a soft piano and the build returns with an introduction of a robotic voice ushering a declaration: “We are the wild ones”. It’s evident on another track like the massive first single “Can’t Kill Us” that Boreta was right, during an interview he mentioned that some people characterised Drink The Sea as introverted. “The new one is extroverted”, he mentions. This couldn’t be a more accurate portrayal of how deep this record hits. Even the softer moments, like “Becoming Harmonious”, have a haunting style to them, mixing with a slight bit of nearly sludge metal, throwing The Glitch Mob into uncharted, yet seemingly familiar territory. Even still, the other track taking advantage of Aja Volkman on vocal duties feels more stripped down, like a more dance club friendly cut (“I Need My Memory Back”). It’s way too early to say that this is the best album of the year, is it? Even if it’s only February, The Glitch Mob have structured a record that is sure to be in my ears for the foreseeable future, with intensity drawing from all different places throughout the entire album.

Justin Mabee