The Calming Influence of Heavy Metal


Turns out the dude who used to make you uneasy during Ms. Swanson’s third period American Lit class — you know, the guy who sat in the corner; with the black jeans, black Converse and Judas Priest T-shirt; the one who knew about Black Sabbath long before you discovered them playing Rock Band— was actually really fucking zen.

The evidence: Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia found heavy metal can be calming agent, according to a study published inFrontiers in Human Neuroscience.

“Extreme music” — long thought to inspire anger, aggression, devil worship, killing sprees and suicide — helped regulate sadness and enhance positive emotions among listeners, the study found.

“When experiencing anger, extreme music fans liked to listen to music that could match their anger. The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt, but also left them feeling more active and inspired,” Leah Sharman, a psychology student at the university, explained.

“Results showed levels of hostility, irritability and stress decreased after music was introduced, and the most significant change reported was the level of inspiration they felt.”

So next time you happen upon a mosh pit or a man solitarily weeping to the music in his earbuds, be not afraid — they’re just working some shit out.

Don’t have a heavy metal playlist to calm you down? We’ve got you covered: Here’s two and half hours of the most-streamed metal tunes on Spotify.

John McDermott is a staff writer at MEL. He previously wrote about Millennials who pop Adderall to find passion in their work.