Local Wire

Shadows Fall @ Joe's Grotto

Look, you can keep the emotive rants and daddy-issue screeds, because at its best, metal's always about doomsday. This is the year the Mayan calendar ends, making the title of Massachusetts metal band Shadows Fall's seventh record, Fire from the Sky, seem not so coincidental. "These days, the world seems to be spiraling out of control into a frantic state of confusion, corruption and chaos. It's as if we are living under the shadow of an impending apocalypse," singer Brian Fair told Blabbermouth when describing the record. So why, exactly, does Fire from the Sky seem strangely uplifting? Credit the band's allegiance to trashy glam rock, which keeps its other key influence, "Gothenburg-style" death metal, from keeping the proceedings too serious. Single "The Unknown," with its dive-bombing solos and positive mantra of "living in the unknown," has got enough pop to earn the band fans on the modern-rock side of the radio spectrum while maintaining a firm connection to the underground. It could be a song about the end of the world, but you've only got to read that much into it if you feel like it.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.