As someone who isn’t a fan of Rush but has attended a concert of theirs, I can say with certainty that if you’re not into hard rock or heavy metal music, the sound of it can drive you insane. However, if extreme music is your thing, instead of affecting you in a negative way it can even you out.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that extreme music genres may actually calm angry listeners. Heavy metal, emotional (emo), hardcore, punk, screamo, and each of their sub-genres forms the category of extreme music.
Extreme music is characterized by chaotic, loud, heavy and powerful sounds, with emotional vocals often containing lyrical themes of anxiety, depression, social isolation and loneliness. Researchers say that the findings of the study contradict previous theories that this kind of music is linked to aggression and delinquency.
For the study, honors student Leah Sharman and Dr. Genevieve Dingle studied 39 regular listeners of extreme music between the ages of 18 and 34. The participants were monitored after a 16-minute anger induction where each individual described topics that might instigate feelings of irritation such as relationships, money or work. They then spent an additional 10 minutes listening to songs of their choice and then experiencing 10 minutes of total silence.
The researchers found that metal music relaxed the subjects as effectively as sitting in silence.
“We found the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions,” Sharman said in The Guardian. “When experiencing anger, extreme music fans liked to listen to music that could match their anger.”
The conclusion of the study reads, “This study found that extreme music fans listen to music…to feel more active and inspired. They also listen to music to regulate sadness and to enhance positive emotions.”
Music can be an excellent way to get your negative emotions out without hurting yourself.
“A secondary aim for the study was to see what music angry participants would select from their playlist,” Sharman said. “Half of the chosen songs contained themes of anger or aggression, with the remainder containing themes such as isolation and sadness. Yet the participants reported they used music to enhance their happiness, immerse themselves in feelings of love, and enhance their well-being.”
Extreme music may not be for everybody, but for those who love it, it can be a source of comfort.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Listening To Heavy Metal Music Actually Makes You Calmer, Says Study.