Original Synth

Glitch Black's Emergent Behavior - review

5 of 5

There is a war raging. Endless. Brutal. Lasers pierce human flesh. Severed hands, heads, and feet lay intertwined in piles of wires and plastics. The smell of burning flesh is overwhelming and the screams STILL echo down the stairs and through the air ducts. There is no safe space. There is only fear, stale breath, and the sound of machines busy at their dark work.


Humans have already lost this battle. The swirling sound of the enemies’ arrival is all the proof needed. BK-1 is here to enslave what’s left of mankind. It’s possible these scavengers don’t even realize that their efforts against the android usurpers are entirely fruitless. Everything in this cold column of cruel steel that is this future reeks of mechanization and cold calculation. There is no heart. There is only automation.


Machines rule here. Their fuel is our flesh, blood, and bone.


Hopelessness is embraced. No one dares dream as there is no real escape from the onslaught of these armies of heavy metal. This future – the only one we are sputtering toward – has us all played like the fools we are.


We. Let. This. Happen.

Glitch Black will be the sound of the robotic apocalypse.

Mark my words.

Glitch Black

Buildings will fall and oceans will dry up, yet these electronic sounds – especially the righteous pitches of “Protoytpe” and dual melodies of “Blockchain” – will live on, echoing until the final doom that is the constant clouds of Armageddon reigns supreme. These sounds – colossal and aggressive – might just split Hell itself into two separate plateaus as we, to quote Duran Duran, “dance into the fire” and find our fates among the automaton’s epic insurrection.

With swirling synth loops reminiscent of the patterns in “Save a Prayer”, Glitch Black’s latest release demands your full attention as it reprograms its Jean Michel Jarre-meets-Depeche Mode influences into a non-stop frenzy of demonic feed patterns and pulses. You simply can’t get lazy with this artist’s vision of his music as there are far too many sounds and quotes mixed in, all designed to keep you blasting at the unyielding enemy. What began as random Soundcloud entries has now led to this: a dark synthwave super solider ready for the battle on the Mount; with each release, he gets better and better.


"There is no escape from Emergent Behavior. Once you commit to listening, you can’t stop the narrative. Oh, you can try but it will suck your very soul into its matrix and you, being the weak sack of flesh that you are, will gladly allow for such a thing to occur."


Four years and six albums later, complete with an arsenal of looping images, Glitch Black strikes deeper yet with this pulverizing release. There is no turning back for this Baton Rouge-based artist. We demand more.

On February 23rd of 2018, faces were, as Echosynthetic’s James Mitchell promised, completely melted off when Glitch Black’s newest album, Emergent Behavior, was released. Through 12 skull-crushing tracks, Glitch Black gives audiences a truly cinematic new sound with synthesized arcs about robot uprisings, zombie outbreaks, and life within (or without) the shadows of the fourth dimension.

glitch black logo

There is no escape from Emergent Behavior. Once you commit to listening, you can’t stop the narrative. Oh, you can try but it will suck your very soul into its matrix and you, being the weak sack of flesh that you are, will gladly allow for such a thing to occur. These left-of-center transitions are all about keeping you on your toes as you run through the halls, hiding from the rabid forces armed to the teeth in an effort to reduce our numbers so that theirs may grow. Goddamned robots.

With pulses this aggressive, authentic layered sounds, and track after track of fist-pumping fury that is happiest when its pushing boundaries, it’s easy to understand why these songs will be the anthem to the uprising. There is no Dr. Light in the side-scrolling video game; there is only two-fisted violence.  

Few other dark sythwave artists can make an organ sound as threatening AND as danceable as is here in “BK-1” and then again in “Man of Madness” and those android-sounding anthemic grooves just slice right into our squishy brains and beg for an audience. Glitch Black, as thunderous as it is, is an electronic eargasm that knows its way around the many parts of a directed-energy weapon AND the dance floor.

glitch black steamy

Photo courtesy of Ryan H. Martin/

Don’t let the intensity put you off either. With staccato beats and piercing melodies, there’s no way you can survive this auditory assault by listening to Emergent Behavior, a true game changer for the artist, one track at a time. No, this is a 12-track listen and what it says about our future is disturbing as hell.  

There’s no denying that the lead track, “Army of the Dead” with its spun beginning and its incredible melodies, is one of the best ways to start off an onslaught of electronic attacks. The enormous percussion effect pounds away like a hammer to the skull. The synth slide and then the aggressive melody screams that we CAN’T STAY HERE for very long. Must keep moving.

glitch black live at southport hall new orleans 02

No one brings home the narrative like Glitch Black and, with an urgency that shrieks of the here and now, Emergent Behavior imagines a world where the only chance we have at survival is through our headphones. These hooks are tiny explosions against the side of the skull. The second track, “Vortex” is a shining example of what this Synthwave artist is so good at doing: creating layers of sound where none existed. There’s no space left empty in the song and, as a result, this track is a hard-hitting blitz of keyboards, handclaps, and a furry of swirling sounds. And there are ten other tracks that do the same thing, hiding surprises within their soundscapes that are unforgettable.

There is an edge to the sound and style of Glitch Black. Be careful Emergent Behavior doesn’t shove you from it. There’s no walking away from a fall like that. The machines are, after all, already listening. Soon, they will be arming themselves with particle-beam weapons and really nasty attitudes and “Deathwish” from this album will probably be on repeat as they go gunning down that last meatbag left standing.

And it could be you.


Glitch Black is on tour!

April 19 - New Orleans - House of Blues, opening for Front 242

June 24 - Los Angeles - Outrun the Sun Festival

August 24 - Warwick, Rhode Island - NEON RetroFest


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