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[Article] Heavy metal music may have a bad reputation, but it has numerous mental health benefits for fans


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Summary: Heavy metal music may have a bad reputation, but a new study reveals the music has positive mental health benefits for its fans.

Source: The Conversation

Due to its extreme sound and aggressive lyrics, heavy metal music is often associated with controversy. Among the genre’s most contentious moments, there have been instances of blasphemous merchandise, accusations of promoting suicide and blame for mass school shootings. Why, then, if it’s so “bad”, do so many people enjoy it? And does this music genre really have a negative effect on them?

There are many reasons why people align themselves with genres of music. It may be to feel a sense of belonging, because they enjoy the sound, identify with the lyrical themes, or want to look and act a certain way. For me, as a quiet, introverted teenager, my love of heavy metal was probably a way to feel a little bit different to most people in my school who liked popular music and gain some internal confidence. Plus, I loved the sound of it.

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I first began to listen to heavy metal when I was 14 or 15 years old when my uncle recorded a ZZ Top album for me and I heard singles by AC/DC and Bon Jovi. After that, I voraciously read music magazines Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Metal Forces, and RAW, and checked out as many back catalogs of artists as I could. I also grew my hair (yes, I had a mullet … twice), wore a denim jacket with patches (thanks mum), and attended numerous concerts by established artists like Metallica and The Wildhearts, as well as local Bristol bands like Frozen Food.

Over the years, there has been much research into the effects of heavy metal. I have used it as one of the conditions in my own studies exploring the impact of sound on performance. More specifically, I have used thrash metal (a fast and aggressive sub-genre of heavy metal) to compare music our participants liked and disliked (with metal being the music the did not enjoy). This research showed that listening to music you dislike, compared to music that you like, can impair spatial rotation(the ability to mentally rotate objects in your mind), and both liked and disliked music are equally damaging to short-term memory performance.

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Other researchers have studied more specifically why people listen to heavy metal, and whether it influences subsequent behavior. For people who are not fans of heavy metal, listening to the music seems to have a negative impact on well-being. In one study, non-fans who listened to classical music, heavy metal, self-selected music, or sat in silence following a stressor, experienced greater anxiety after listening to heavy metal. Listening to the other music or sitting in silence, meanwhile, showed a decrease in anxiety. Interestingly heart rate and respiration decreased over time for all conditions.

Metalheads and headbangers

Looking further into the differences between heavy metal fans and non-fans, research has shown that fans tend to be more open to new experiences, which manifests itself in preferring music that is intense, complex, and unconventional, alongside a negative attitude towards institutional authority. Some do have lower levels of self-esteem, however, and a need for uniqueness.

One might conclude that this and other negative behaviors are the results of listening to heavy metal, but the same research suggests that it may be that listening to music is cathartic. Late adolescent/early adult fans also tend to have higher levels of depression and anxiety but it is not known whether the music attracts people with these characteristics or causes them.
This shows a kid rocking out
 

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31 minutes ago, -AJ- said:

I'm pretty particular with the metal music I enjoy, but I've come to appreciate it more over the years. There's a lot of depth to the music--moreso than a lot of most popular music these days.

I am definitely particular with metal I like! It is mostly comprised of, or accompanied by dual base pedals.

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12 minutes ago, the grinder said:

metal-health-543c38b71f003.jpgnothing new there lol

Metal Health was the first metal album my brother brought home. I feel like I was 6. Twisted Sister was the second.

 

Metal, and in particular thrash is an amazing stress reliever for me. 

 

It's a good way to start the day and then get over the fact you had to &^@#ing work all day.

 

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3 minutes ago, luckylager said:

Metal Health was the first metal album my brother brought home. I feel like I was 6. Twisted Sister was the second.

 

Metal, and in particular thrash is an amazing stress reliever for me. 

 

It's a good way to start the day and then get over the fact you had to &^@#ing work all day.

 

I just found my copy of metal health  I had stashed away  lol I was like 15 when I bought it 

Edited by the grinder
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8 minutes ago, luckylager said:

Metal Health was the first metal album my brother brought home. I feel like I was 6. Twisted Sister was the second.

 

Metal, and in particular thrash is an amazing stress reliever for me. 

 

It's a good way to start the day and then get over the fact you had to &^@#ing work all day.

 

i like all sorts of music  tho metal is my fave   hard to find real good new metal now a days    i would slip knot is my fave metal band atm  

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6 minutes ago, the grinder said:

i like all sorts of music  tho metal is my fave   hard to find real good new metal now a days    i would slip knot is my fave metal band atm  

Slipknot is definitely may favourite. They do a lot to be known, but its definitely tough to argue with the music they put out.  :wub:

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14 minutes ago, the grinder said:

i like all sorts of music  tho metal is my fave   hard to find real good new metal now a days    i would slip knot is my fave metal band atm  

 

A cover song, but Corey Taylor makes a little cameo at the end. Slipknot original. =)

Edited by Drive-By Body Pierce
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2 minutes ago, Drive-By Body Pierce said:

Slipknot is definitely may favourite. They do a lot to be known, but its definitely tough to argue with the music they put out.  :wub:

yep bunch a crazy mofo s   i saw the last concert with all the orginal memebers

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