Is Metal Music Healthy?

By: Victor F. Racek

There are concerns that prolonged exposure to heavy metal music with aggressive themes can increase the risk of aggression, anger, antisocial behavior, substance use, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression.  It is often claimed that music with aggressive themes can cause psychological and behavioral problems.  This narrative review of theory and evidence suggests that fans typically derive a range of emotional and social benefits from listening to heavy metal music, while non-fans invariably report negative psychological experiences. The review considers a comprehensive set of empirical findings that inform clinical strategies designed to identify fans for whom heavy metal music may confer psychological and behavioral risks.

What is Heavy Metal?

Heavy metal is a genre that typically features loud distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, dense bass-and-drum sound and vigorous vocals. Heavy metal subgenres vary in emphasis, alteration or
omission of one or more of these attributes. Heavy metal lyrics focus on the “metaphysics of destruction”, such as “death, mutilation and violence.” Ronald Pogue states that death metal songs have “violent and aggressive lyrics”. The origin of the word “metal” is thought to have stemmed from the hippie movement, when “heavy” signified intensity. Elements that comprise metal music are loud and distorted guitar sounds, strong drumming, extremely low bass register, and intense or harsh singing. Many followers may additionally be energized by its powerful sound and locate solace in emotionally intense lyrics. Listening to this genre of song can enhance signs and symptoms of stress and depression. Metal additionally might assist some people’s experience being accepted, belonging to a community of other, similar individuals who like the same music you like.

Psychology of Metal

Researchers have looked into whether listening to such music may raise rage, violent cognitions, and aggressive/antisocial behaviors. Heavy metal lyrics frequently depict acts of aggression, brutality, and misogyny. Aggression and anger are two different reactions. A short 2002 study found that listening to metal music had health benefits for the body, the mind, and possibly even the immune system. Yet you could make the same argument about any type of music. Low moods and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities are symptoms of the mental health disease depression. If you enjoy metal, listening to this genre can help you cope with any negative feelings you might be experiencing. Also, it might aid in lowering cortisol levels, which might lead to decreased stress. Many people may want to experience that they’re universal and a part of a group. Going to live concert shows, being attentive to your favored bands, and simply being a fan allow you to bond with others over a shared hobby.  Feeling alone or isolated can negatively affect your fitness and well-being. understanding you proportion a love of the same kind of tune as a lot of others can make stronger the perception that you are not alone and are part of something bigger than yourself.

Cognitive Function

Current research indicates that listening to music may improve cognitive performance and support healthy aging. The risk of dementia is reduced in people who play an instrument continuously throughout life.  This has been linked to the fact that learning and performing music might strengthen the brain’s resilience.  According to a twin study that also controlled for sex, education, and physical activity, musicians had a 64% lower risk of dementia or mild cognitive impairment. During the study’s follow-up, a meta-analysis of two cohort studies discovered a 59% decrease in the risk of dementia. Music ignites all areas of child development and chops for academy readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall knowledge. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words.

How Metal Music Helps

This kind of music can help with stress and depression symptoms. Also, the acceptance of a group of like-minded followers may help some individuals feel more at home. A higher level of logical and scientific thinking may also be present in those who favor metal. According to research, anyone who is agitated and aggressive may have more positive feelings as a result of the higher arousal brought on by metal music, which corresponds to the person’s physiological mind. Noise from metal and anger/aggression are congruent, which aids in controlling rage. The difficulty of interpreting layers and meaning is one of the reasons why students like music so much. The issue is that this can in fact divert their focus from their schoolwork. Due to the fact that it doesn’t distract them and enhances concentration, many students choose to listen to instrumental or classical music while studying. It’s intriguing that heavy metal music doesn’t seem to be a distraction for students. They claim that when they listen, the bad energy leaves their body. They feel lighter, which makes it easier for them to concentrate. Their minds are not constantly racing with anxious ideas that interfere with their ability to focus.  The many Personalities of “Metalheads” In terms of being introverted against extraverted, intuitive versus observant, thinking versus feeling, and prospecting versus judging, metal fans are almost the perfect antithesis of pop music enthusiasts. Heavy metal and rock frequently convey feelings of rage, boldness, and aggression. These admirers, however, were discovered in this study to be kind, creative, and introverted. They frequently had low self-esteem as well. According to studies, heavy metal music is a sign of high intelligence. Heavy metal music may be used by certain persons as a coping mechanism for their talent. This study revealed no evidence that being a “metalhead” causes poor performance or misbehavior. It may be that those with more open personalities are drawn to music that is “intense, engaging, and difficult,” as metal can be, according to the researchers, that this is why liking heavy metal was also connected with openness. It’s interesting to note that the study’s metal lovers tended to have modest levels of self-esteem.  Several people struggle to comprehend the complexity of the heavy metal music genre. Yet, it can be advantageous for pupils who enjoy when studying. Some claim that it lessens their feelings of angst and frustration. They can learn more effectively if they are relaxed. Research tends to support the idea that listening to music while studying doesn’t matter. It can be advantageous as long as they enjoy the music they listen to.

If you or you know someone going through a personal crisis, contact one of the following agencies for assistance. These resources provide counseling and assistance 24 hours a day, seven
days a week.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 (Call or Text)
Crisis text: 741741
Jewish community
Services-Miami-Dade Helpline:
305-358-HELP (4357) – English, Spanish, and Creole
Miami-Dade Helpline: 211
Trevor Lifeline: (Crisis Support for LGBTQ Youth)
Call: 1-866-488-7386
Text: START to 678-678

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