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Gel, 'Attainable'

On Sunday night, I got socked in the jaw, groin and eyeball, in that order — plus, my elbow started bleeding at some point. No, I didn't get in a fight; I'd come out of pit retirement to push and shove my way through Gel's ferociously fun set and left absolutely exhilarated.

"Attainable" typifies the New Jersey band's refinement over a series of 7-inch singles and last year's split with Cold Brats: groove-heavy, reverb-laden hardcore that swaggers as much as it smiles. Sami Kaiser's bark is fierce, but oddly friendly. Even without arms swung within inches of your face, you can feel the heat coming off this rager as it heaves from a pacing chug to a quickened prowl — there's not so much a guitar solo as chiming ornamentation woven into the knuckle-dragged riffs. In the same way all punk shows should be short and rowdy, Gel's debut full-length is a brisk 17 minutes — Only Constant, out March 31, is sure to be one of the year's most satisfyingly bruising hardcore records.

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