Are Shadows Fall still feeling the fan backlash from two albums ago? The 2007 major-label dabbling of Threads of Life was about as radio-ready as a metalcore band from Springfield, Massachusetts, could be, with the breakneck aggression sitting shotgun to driving melodies. Not that it was bad per se, but it more mainstream than what the outfit's foundation had been built on — which is the last thing a metal audience wants its band to turn into. Headbangers can rest easy, since Fire from the Sky fully returns the band to what made Shadows Fall so appealing in the first place— without taking a step backward. Vocalist Brian Fair is all about the guttural growls balancing out his made-for-metal singing style. Look no further than the title track and the first single, "The Unknown," the latter of which leads off with some supreme Maiden-like guitar before dropping into a thrash groove that Metallica has spent the past decade or so trying to find again. Fittingly for the current year, there are several lyrical nods to a pending apocalypse. The Mayans couldn't have known that the end of the world would not mean the end of heavy metal.