If you are a metalhead, you probably encountered a lot of people who disapprove of your music taste, crowds that look at you in a funny judging way, and parents that hide and warn their children to stay away from you. In fact, for most non-metalheads who don’t have music knowledge, being a metalhead means being isolated, satanic, suicidal, depressed, aggressive, and an addict (check the funny video below). But do they have it right?
Let's talk science!
In a study done by researchers in 2014, a group of metalheads and non-metalheads were brought to the lab to conduct a study that shows how the different genres of music might affect emotions. In this study, both groups used their music in the same way to express their different sensations. However, a slight difference was shown in the use of music when it comes to emotions like sadness, despair, and anger. In fact, metalheads showed slightly higher use of their music to regulate those emotions, meaning that among all the different genres, metal music might be the most helpful when it comes to such dark feelings .
In another study, researchers induced anger in participants who enjoy metal. Then, they asked some of Them to listen to metal songs from their own playlist for 10 mins while the rest of them were asked to just sit in silence (control group). The results showed that feelings of irritability, hostility, and guilt decreased in both groups. Heart rate that increased during the anger induction wasn’t increased, but was sustained in participants who listened to metal, and decreased in participants who sat in silence. However, feelings of positivity like enthusiasm and inspiration, were only increased in individuals who listened to metal and not in the control group who sat in silence. Those results indicate that metal music does not increase anger, on the contrary, it decreases negative feelings and increases positive ones .
Many research papers that claim that listening to metal music has a negative effect, fail to address the possible impact of many other factors that might surround the listeners, like social environment, status and mental state. In fact, in a study that took those different factors into account, it was found that metal music doesn’t increase suicidal risks in males or females, they even noticed a reduction of suicidal attempts in girls who used metal to relieve their emotions . In a study that interviewed metalheads, one of the participants said ‘If I’m really ticked off, I would listen to more of the hard stuff. The hard stuff kind of calms me down. They’re spitting out all these problems on the tape, so you figure yours aren’t so bad.’ I think all of us metalheads can relate to this. Not one single participant said that listening to metal made them feel worse or bad in any way. On the opposite, they stated that metal helped them get rid of their destructive and suicidal urges by helping them cope instead of acting out .
Metal gives its fans a sense of unity and brotherhood where everyone, even their role models, Share similar if not worse struggles, showing them that they are not alone out there and that they can survive whatever they are going through together. ‘One for all, all for one, we are strong, we are one’’ watch this amazing live performance of Nemesis by Arch Enemy and enjoy the lovely ambiance.
The concerts and lyrics
When it comes to concerts, outsiders might have the wrong idea about the environment; They consider it to be violent and dangerous, especially when someone mentions the moshpits. Of course in a moshpit, someone might mistakenly hit you while you are drinking your beer showering you with it (here have a laugh).
But other than that, moshpits are usually well-controlled with certain rules to avoid any injuries. What’s amazing about moshpits is that they allow metalheads to let go of all their anger and negative emotions in a safe place, as brothers and sisters, all while enjoying their favorite music. Can you imagine any better therapy?
Moving on to music lyrics. While it’s true that some of them might be suicidal, or might express anger, those songs almost always end with lyrics that give strength and encourage people to fight their way to recovery. Some songs also shed light on the importance of people taking care of one another. We can take as an example the song ‘Coming down’ by Five Finger Death Punch, the lyrics and video are about suicidal teenagers that try to commit suicide, however, their lives end up being saved by their friends and parents. At the end of the video the quote ‘One Friend Can Save A Life’, appears along with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. Check the music video
Metal music isn’t so isolating and suicidal now, is it?
Many other metal songs give hope and encourage
people to fight and be stronger, for example, the song ‘Stand up and shout’ by
Dio. Lyrics are ‘ you are the strongest chain and not just some reflection so
never hide again’, ‘ you’ve got the power stand up and shout’ check it out
Omg how depressing!
Another example is ‘Esoteric surgery’ by Gojira, in this song they assure their fans that it’s normal to feel alone and scared during the process of healing, and it’s okay because it’s gonna be worth it. ‘Suspended floating in empty spaces, descending swiftly like a fire running down, obstruction disintegration life force, overcoming all circumstances, release the pain”. They give hope to people suffering ‘there is a secret code the structure of the mind you have the power to heal yourself.
Oh so dark and evil!
A third example is the song ‘The world is yours’ by Arch Enemy. Some of the empowering lyrics are ‘if you want the world use your mind take control feel the strength rise from within if you really wanted the world is yours’. And the list goes on and on. Enjoy it here but try not to kill urself please!
So aggressive damn it!
So to make it short
NO metal music isn’t EVIL! It gives its fans a sense of comfort, a safe place to feel whatever they wanna feel, without being judged. It helps them get their anger out in a healthy way, and it empowers them. Taylor from slipknot stated to the music magazine and website New Musical Express; “If you’re setting out to hurt yourself, it’s not the music that’s causing it there’s something else wrong’’, “We get a lot of kids that cut themselves but I go out of my way to try and stop it” 
So now I ask non-metalheads readers, do you still believe that listening to metal can push people to commit suicide, self-harm, and commit all the other behaviors that they are accused of, or are those suffering drawn to heavy metal for its therapeutic effect?
Feel free to share your comments on how metal helped you in your life, and don’t forget to Keep it heavy brothers and sisters ! \m/