Beauty in Violence | “Honed Blade” by GEL


Logan Juncaj, Writer/Volunteer

New Jersey hardcore outfit GEL has returned with their highly anticipated debut full-length album, Only Constant. Kicked off by the song “Honed Blade,” Only Constant is a 16-minute ferocious blast of hardcore that showcases why GEL is one of the premier bands of the genre today. 

At less than two minutes long, “Honed Blade” is a seething, guttural rager. Characterized by fat, stompy, heavy riffs and lyrics that promote positivity and self-improvement, it is one track that truly exemplifies the greatness of GEL. “Honed Blade” delivers a pummeling beatdown in the band’s serrated-edge style and offers a perfect example of how they make unrelenting, aggressive hardcore that’s somehow instantly accessible to any listener. 

Sharpen up your voice — it’s a matter of choice.

Continue to work toward self-improvement until your mind, body and soul are as sharp as a “Honed Blade.” GEL fosters this mentality through their music; they create high-intensity songs, but they’re full of the kind of vulnerability that it takes to unabashedly be yourself. The song pushes the band’s aggression factor even further, but vocalist Sami Kaiser’s lyrics are deeply self-reflective, walking a fine line between rage and optimism. The riffs might compel you to jump offstage, but the lyrics reassure you that someone is going to catch you. 

Even among so many talented hardcore groups, GEL stands tall as one of the finest in their field. Their name has been generating buzz in recent years, particularly since 2021’s Violent Closure EP and 2022’s Shock Therapy split EP with Cold Brats. Their newest release, Only Constant, continues their streak of quality releases and does not disappoint.

In only a quarter of an hour, this album makes GEL one of the most electrifying new-ish bands on the planet. Theirs is a hardcore that is often caustic, abrasive and scaldingly visceral, but also a thing of frequent joy. It brings a more positive release: a refreshing distinction from the common nihilistic tendencies of hardcore and punk rock in general. They combine harsh, unforgiving guitar riffs and Kaiser’s scorched-earth howls with lyrics about confidence, self-acceptance and their desire to transcend self-destructive tendencies with a kind of suppliant empathy, urging the listener to make the connections that will draw them even closer to the music. This unique combination teaches listeners that even amid the most violent there is a certain beauty that can always be found.