There's so much middle ground in metal right now that you can mix and match styles, arrange your favorite mixture of heavy sounds, and be pretty sure that there's a band out there that caters to your particular brand of darkness. If you feel that anthems and ferocity shouldn't be mutually exclusive, you can take your pick of bands that dot the expansive landscape of aggressive music, but metalcore staples Killswitch Engage pull off the combo with a gleaming accessibility, giving fans with varied tastes a little something to hold on to. It's thanks in part to Howard Jones's vocals, alternately scorching and soaring, but the stacks of massive riffs and melodic breakdowns also seem calculated for maximum crossover appeal. They're easy to like, and while that may not sit well with those who like their rock pitch-black, the band's popularity signals that they've hit a certain sweet spot, which will ensure that First Ave will be filled with both the curious and the faithful. With the Devil Wears Prada and Dark Tranquility. All ages.
Thu., Feb. 18, 5 p.m., 2010