Dec. 12 is the International Day of Heavy Metal, a genre of rock that developed in the 1960s and has been around ever since. Now, I understand metal music is not the genre for everyone — in fact, it’s considered outsider music due to the fact it’s usually not favorited in the mainstream — but I think it deserves a little more appreciation than it’s getting. With bands like Slipknot infamously known for wearing scary masks, it’s easy to paint a picture as to why people stereotypically bash on metal music. However, a study published in the Journal of Community Psychology revealed that listening to metal music actually has many health benefits, stating that “by talking repeatedly, directly with young metalheads, it was found that metal identities were helping participants to survive the stress of challenging environments and build strong and sustained identities and communities, thus alleviating any potential mental health issues.”
Bill Thompson, a professor of music at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and Yanan Sun, the lead researcher in the study, conducted a decade-long experiment to test whether listening to metal music resulted in individuals being more violent; the results were actually the opposite. “The dominant emotional response to this music is joy and empowerment — that’s an amazing thing,” said Thompson.
The question remains, why does the majority dislike metal music? Here’s what I think: those who don’t like metal music aren’t really listening. They just consider the genre a bunch of heavy chord progressions and screaming, but really, it’s so much more than that. When you actually listen to the instrumental and lyrics of most metal songs, you find yourself not only headbanging, but the words and music are actually empowering and relatable.
Now, I am not trying to shove metal music down anyone’s throat, but I think the genre deserves more appreciation. At the end of the day, everyone’s taste in music is different, but just because you don’t personally like something doesn’t mean you should kill that joy for others. Metal music is not going anywhere, and as Jack Black says in Tenacious D’s song “The Metal,” “You can’t kill the metal/The metal will live on.”
Want to give metal music a listen? Here are some great bands to check out:
- System of a Down
- Alice in Chains
- Iron Maiden
- Black Sabbath
- Avenged Sevenfold
- Marilyn Manson
Photo: H. Sucahya