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It goes without saying, but it's still worth saying: long hair is much more fun to photograph than short hair. This was clear last night at The BLVD, where the promoter rammed together two death metal tours onto one bill.

One tour consisted mostly of brutal death metal bands. It was mostly short-haired and mostly forgettable.

The other tour was the Campaign for Death Metal Purity. (See discussion and hear sound clips here.) Every band was mostly long-haired and mostly great.

Long hair does not equal good music, but it can be indicative. The metal look indicates a likelihood of metal music and perhaps metal ideals. These, of course, are variable. Given the name of this tour, they were obvious: rawness and intensity. The bands - Gravehill, Cardiac Arrest, and HOD, with support from like-minded locals Fatalist - all had rawness and intensity, both sonically and visually.

For evidence, see below. From top to bottom: Fatalist, HOD, Cardiac Arrest, Gravehill, two photos each. (Click on photos for their full glory.) Even Gravehill, who only had two members with overt long hair - the others had a buzz cut, a man bob, and a spiked helmet with horns - made the most of what they had. They were an exception, though. When I see a metal band take the stage, and it is mostly short-haired, my heart sinks a little.

— Cosmo Lee

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GIVEAWAY

Who has the best and worst hair in metal? Hair metal does not count, but past musicians can count. Leave your votes in the comments box. I will select two winners randomly. Second place gets HOD and Cardiac Arrest beer koozies, while first place gets those koozies and two Ibex Moon CD samplers as well. International entrants are welcome. This giveaway will close at midnight EST, Friday, July 9.

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TOUR DATES

Below are the remaining dates this month in the Campaign for Death Metal Purity Tour 2010. Go. If these bands could crush skulls and give 110% while playing to 10 people (shame on you, Los Angeles) only four days into a tour, imagine the damage they will inflict later on. But don't imagine it - experience it.

Gravehill, Cardiac Arrest, HOD

5 - The Drunken Lass - Prescott, AZ
7 - Beerland - Austin, TX
8 - The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
9 - Nightcap - Chicago, IL
10 - Belvedere's Lounge - Pittsburgh, PA**
11 - Jimmy's Place - Allentown, PA
12 - Dingbatz - Clifton, NJ
13 - Fontana's - New York, NY
14 - Melody Inn - Indianapolis, IN
15 - The Buccaneer - Memphis, TN
16 - Downtown Music - Little Rock, AR
17 - Walters - Houston, TX
18 - Ten Eleven - San Antonio, TX

** with Incantation and Funerus