Friday, Dec. 17; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): Frankly, Isis may be the most important metal band on the planet at the moment, and not just because they're able to rock with the best of them. Isis represent the last vestige of hope first proffered nearly a decade ago by pioneering post-hardcore bands Neurosis and, later, Tool. Unfortunately, the promise those bands showed never quite manifested fully in the psyches of fans who flirted with serious, artful metal, only to eventually be sucked in by poseurs like Korn and a half-dozen frat metal bands whose music was fun to drink, fight and plan date-rapes to.
But Isis have preserved the promise of the past and mixed it with what, with any luck and some serious listening by metal fans, is likely to be the future of the genre. In combining post-hardcore aesthetics with industrial blastbeats a la Godflesh and a painfully deep and slow brand of grindcore pioneered by bands like Eyehategod and furthered by sludge masters Enemymine, Isis have struck upon something that can make your nose bleed and your brain kick in to overdrive all at once. Too much for Limp Bizkits and Linkin Parkers, but absolutely perfect for the righteous among us.