Thursday, July 6, 2023

Album Review: Gel - Only Constant

Only Constant
***and1/2 out of *****

The debut from the New Jersey based Gel is a blistering sonic assault as the group throws all the aggressive noises into welcoming earholes with Only Constant.  

The five piece of vocalist Sami Kaiser, guitarists Anthony Webster and Madison Nave, bassist Matthew Bobko, and drummer Zach Miller form the group and begin their cacophony of punk/hardcore with "Honed Blade". The track moves from sluggish to quick upticks in tempo as vocals are screeched out around the cluttered noisy sound that feels perfect for a raw punk act like this. 

There is no problems with the tempo slamming forward on "Fortified" which delivers head banging level of goodness to the forefront. "Attainable" is an early highlight with it's strong bass work, and eerie layers of guitar sounds, which hint at Industrial just under the punk surface, the individual nuances here flush out the sounds, expanding Gel's hardcore base.  

That foundation is clearly on display during the galloping "Out of Mind" and brutal, straight ahead driving of "Dicey" which also kicks into a great heavy groove. After a mid-album palette cleanser of "Calling Card" where people say just about anything to soothing sounds and hip hop outro-beat, the band drops back into it with "The Way Out" which plays with tempos in various ways over the songs brief run time; a great skill of the group.    

Kaisers lyrics are like most of the genre, buried under the aggressive sound. When reading the lyrics, there is a fight against, aggression and oppression, retaliation against past attacks and fighting mental pain, all standard hardcore/punk avenues, yet there is less personal flexing accompanying them.  

The debut record ends stoutly with "Worn Down" which has a more mainstream hardcore feel and "Snake Skin" which is centered around an excellent drum break and guitar riffs that sound like bombs falling from the sky. Nothing earth shattering but slight temp shifts, distorted riffs and energetic pacing all contribute to make this album stand out.    

Only Constant by Gel wraps up on a strong note as the band delivers a bombastic massive closer in "Composure" which ends and then dissolves into distortion as the band plays with sounds instead of pacing to finish their excellent punk rock debut. 
Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

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