Psychology of Heavy Metal Music
Psychology of Heavy Metal MusicWhen we think of heavy metal or “death metal”, the majority of us will think of depressed teenagers, piercings, black clothing, collections of sharp objects, and other generally abhorrent things. Is this really what heavy metal is? Is there another, more positive side to it? In my opinion, no there is not, but others would say otherwise.
I have always wondered how and why a person would luxuriate in listening to heavy metal music. I have had friends, and still do, who enjoy listening to it, who have tried to explain to me why they listen to it, and they have said that it’s not the music that they enjoy, it’s the fact that they can relate to the messages that are being relayed in the songs. They feel like they are not alone, and that people understand what they are going through, in their harrowing teenage years. Even though heavy metal is not my most preferred music genre, I can understand why some people would enjoy listening to it.
For the purpose of this post, I conducted an interview of a friend (who prefers to remain anonymous) who likes heavy metal, and I asked them why they liked it, how they felt while listening to it, and why it made them feel like that.
First, I asked him why he liked to listen to heavy metal. His answer was that he liked it because it comforts him to know that other people are, or have experienced what he has experienced, whether it’s family problems, complicated love lives, or just simple teenage depression. He said that he could not get that feeling through conversation from a friend or counselor, because they have never lived it.
Next, I asked him how he felt when he listened to it, the emotions he feels, and the thoughts that go through his head. He told me that, while listening to heavy metal, he actually feels happier than when he isn’t. He says that it’s “like therapy,” and that he even relaxes slightly when listening to it. I asked him why he thought this was. He told me again that it was because he knew that someone else understood, and went through what he did. After I performed this interview, I was curious as to what his mother thought about his listening to heavy metal. I asked her if she was concerned that the music was causing problems with depression, if it affected his grades, or his overall attitude.
The first question I asked her was whether or not she was concerned. She said no, she wasn’t concerned, because she knew that his problems were real, and it was not the music that was causing them, even if it might appear that way. I then asked her if the music seemed to affect his grades, if they brought out a rebellious side in him at all. She seemed certain that the music was not what was causing his rebellious-ness, and that this came from other things unrelated to heavy metal music.
Research also shows that despite what the majority of people in the world think, heavy metal music does not cause depression. It may not help, but it doesn’t provoke feelings of loneliness or sadness. But, although heavy metal music does not cause depression, it may have some effect on the way its listeners behave. Studies have shown that teenagers who listen to heavy metal music are significantly more rebellious, tense, uptight, violent, and hostile than the average teen.
As I did with my post on classical music, I am going to do an experiment. I am going to listen to a heavy metal song( Only For The Weak by In Flames), and I am going to write about how it makes me feel. The following video is of the song that I used to perform this experiment:
Frankly, I am slightly scared. I can feel a small throbbing in my left temple, and my brow becoming tense. I have butterflies in my stomach, and I am getting the urge to turn the volume all the way down. I almost feel tears stinging my eyes, even though I can’t hear what the lyrics are. I can honestly say that what I am feeling now is the opposite of relaxation. All I can hear is growling and the incessant banging of drums. At this moment I cannot understand why anyone would want to listen to this for enjoyment, but this is only my opinion. Everyone is different, and have different tastes and styles. The opinions expressed in this post are only those of me, and they do not apply to anyone else.