Formed in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the mid-'90s, Shadows Fall began as a melodic death-metal band with some roots in hardcore. But around the turn of the century, the outfit took decisive steps to escape a genre rut, and the result was 2002's The Art of Balance, which served as a bracing statement of the group's then-new phase of development. While not ditching melodic leads, the core songwriting explored a deeper immersion in thrash. In 2009, Shadows Fall established its own label, Everblack Industries, in time for the release of Retribution. Fire From the Sky, its latest effort, explores eschatological themes that are very much in vogue with the end of the Mayan calendar looming. But the songs are more about cutting out the dead weight in your life than about a literal end of days.