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Metal Movement Tour 

With Kittie, Otep, Crisis, and Level C. Friday, October 15, at the Odeon.

Tours characterized by bands of a single sex are nothing new. For recent examples, see the all-male suckfest Family Values or the geriatric stool sample known as the Kiss-Aerosmith tour. These events seldom use gender-specific terms, such as Boys Gone Wild or Sleazy Slimy Grandpas. But when several female-fronted metal groups decide to pool their tunes, the marketing machine goes into overdrive, and we're left with something like Metal Movement.

Unlike 2003's abysmal Girlz Garage, whose lamentable lineup included Lennon and Lillix, the Metal Movement tour includes some explosive acts. Kittie, Otep, and Crisis are all as indisputably heavy as an offensive lineman. Each vocalist balances fire-belching bellows with sweetly melodic choruses, a baby-doll/demon-damsel dichotomy first perfected by Babes in Toyland's Kat Bjelland. But these groups are much more musically menacing than Babes, L7, or early Hole. The chugging riffs weigh a ton, and the bludgeoning breakdowns provoke mosh-pit mayhem.

In promoting the tour, Kittie singer Morgan Lander says it "should lay to rest any ideas that women cannot rock as hard as men." Given that Kittie and Otep have already played Ozzfest, emphatically delivering that message to the metal masses, additional cavemen conversions seem unlikely. Audience members are more likely to leave with a sobering reminder of how difficult it is for female performers to transcend their gender. But if Metal Movement serves as a catalyst for even a handful of young women to kick-start their own projects, its existence is justified. Ideally, it will inspire so much activity that "women in metal" will cease to be a novel concept, and the genre's gender-ghettoization will disappear.

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