I know most of the non-metalheads have some (a lot) prejudices about metal music and its fans. Headbanging, moshing, loud music, screaming, long hair, and dreadlocks are all associated with alternative, heavy, progressive, nu, and other types of metal music. Some people associate heavy metal with violence, aggression, delinquency, and even satanism and decapitation of small mammals. However, we got you.
According to a study by the University of Queensland published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, metal, and all forms of “extreme” music, can positively influence the listener, inspiring calmness rather than anger.
This research revealed that “extreme music matches and helps to process anger”, rather than proving the hypothesis that “extreme music causes anger”.
Focusing on heavy metal, emo, hardcore, progressive, punk, nu, screamo, and the various other subgenres featured in the category of “extreme” music, found that the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions.
“The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt, but also left them feeling more active and inspired,” authors of the 2015 study said. “Head-banging tunes can have the same effect as a warm hug“, the University of Queensland titles the news about the research.
Results showed decreasing levels of hostility, irritability, and stress after the music was introduced while increasing levels of inspiration participants in the study felt.
They were monitored after a 16-minute “anger induction”. This involved each individual describing topics that might inspire irritation, such as relationships, money, or work, before spending a further 10 minutes listening to songs of their choice and then experiencing 10 minutes of complete silence.
The researchers discovered that metal music relaxed participants as effectively as sitting in silence.
“Participants reported they used music to enhance their happiness, immerse themselves in feelings of love and enhance their wellbeing.”
Listening to metal can help provide an outlet for processing intense emotions like fear, anxiety, and anger, reducing cortisol levels, hence, relieving stress.
Listening to metal music can benefit both your body and mind, and may even help your immune system, according to a small 2002 study. But this fact could be said for any music you like.
One 2015 study looked at musical preferences and their link to cognition. It determined that people who prefer intense music — like heavy metal — might tend to think more logically and in more complex terms than people who don’t like metal.
A 2019 survey with nearly 90,000 participants in programming professions asked what types of music help them focus. Aside from classical to video games soundtracks, an estimated 2,000 participants specifically said metal was most helpful for their concentration.
(With the exception of black and death metal, both of which have some… difficulties and bad reps.)
David Angeler, an ecologist and complex systems researcher, published a 2016 paper in SpringerPlus on metal’s potential to keep us afloat. Angeler says that maintaining mental and emotional resilience will be key to both surviving the cataclysm and building a stronger future.
According to Angeler, building resilient societies depends on a complex set of factors affecting both systems and individuals. Anything that helps people cope with their own emotions, including the catharsis many feel while listening to metal, also helps keep their communities strong.