Rochester-based act Into The Light formed in 2022 and boasts an impressive pedigree of Rochester talent – think members of Bad Bloom, Union, Hard To Know, The Silence Broken, and Achilles. This particular crew is influenced by shoegaze, indie rock, and post-hardcore like Failure, Catherine Wheel, and Quicksand; said influences come through strongly on their debut EP, the self-titled Into The Light (ITL). The quartet worked with record producer Steve Sopchak (of Motionless in White and Ice Nine Kills fame) to create a gritty, guitar-forward album full of raw aggression, chugging chords, and cathartic emotions. It has just as much in common with crushing ’90s grunge like Soundgarden, your favorite Deftones album, and modern-day acts like Superheaven and Teenage Wrist.

Album opener “The Thorns of Life” introduces you to the hallmarks of ITL – expect spindly guitar leads laden with thick distortion tones; a rock-steady bassline that’s just as nimble; and huge, pounding drums that suit these songs perfectly. “Thorns” is an exercise in fretboard excellence, its finger-twisting riffs always seeming to land with perfection and intent. The production value on this batch of songs is stellar too, encapsulating anger and sadness without ever sounding too polished to be sincere. As they launch into song two, “Camera Shy,” the band’s collective songwriting experience really starts to show. A sludgy bassline and feedback-based guitar discord kick this one off before exploding into the riffy rhythmic onslaught you’ve come to expect from ITL. Of particular note here is how major the chorus sounds – after all, not all post-hardcore has to be doom-and-gloom. Over a giant-sounding wall of guitar chords, ITL flex a bit of hookiness here, singing: “She is camera shy, what a time to be alive and be camera shy.”

Next is the debut single, “Manuscript,” which leans a bit further into shoegaze territory. Reverbed guitars echo in the distance as the bass and kickdrums pound in your ears simultaneously. Juxtaposed against the brighter chorus of “Camera Shy,” “Manuscript” sounds dark and downtrodden, a beautiful demonstration of the band’s ability to craft songs across a wide spectrum of genres. The song closes out with siren guitars sounding off in your ear as the refrain of “my mind keeps running away” repeats, a somber but ultimately relatable message that hits home just right.

Another favorite moment on ITL comes from “Call It” – it’s been a minute since I’ve heard an intro as wild as this one. Guitars wail and bend in unison creating a maelstrom of noise that immediately inspires a rush of blood to the head and ears. Next is second single, “Bridge” which might be one of the heaviest moments on the album. Big, chunky chords and down-strummed riffs slam through your speakers, punctuated by moments of squealing pinch harmonics. At the two minute mark, the band abruptly switches into a massive, shoegazy bridge, a refreshing-but-still-fitting sonic break from the otherwise pummeling (but welcome!) assault of guitar distortion.

Like “Manuscript” before it, album closer “Midyear” ends the album with more heady shoegaze energy, but even with its reined-in energy, it just allows more space for big hooks and great melodies. ITL is a fantastic debut from this veritable Rochester supergroup and is sure to lure anyone who loves guitar noise and deep, crushing narratives.

Into The Light was released on December 24th, 2023 via Luchador Records & Classic Core Records. There are lots of ways to support Into The Light – check them all out here via their Linktree.