I think it’s pretty safe to assume that, as a reader here on this page, your music tastes are skewed towards the more aggressive side of the spectrum. “Extreme” is one of the founding principals and driving forces behind the genre, and it just may have been scientifically proven that “angry” music can make you happy, and less stressed out.
In the article Extreme Metal Music and Anger Processing (full text) posted in the scientific journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Genevieve Dingle PhD (in clinical psychology) and honors student Leah Sharman of the University of Queensland took to studying how angry music affected how it’s fans processed anger.
Listening to extreme music may represent a healthy way of processing anger for these listeners.
The article quickly lays out the parameters, 39 extreme music fans aged 18-34 years old were all subjected to “an anger induction,” which I am going to assume took the form of a psychologist reading MetalSucks articles dissing on the participants favorite bands. Then they were randomly given a 10 minute block of extreme music from their own playlists, or silence (control).
Responses to the nine questions about extreme music influence on emotions are displayed in Table 2. A majority agreed with the statements that they listened to extreme music to fully experience anger (79%) and to calm themselves down when feeling angry (69%). They also listened to extreme music to improve other negative moods such as sadness (74%) and less commonly, anxiety (33%). An overwhelming majority stated that they listen to extreme music to enhance their happiness (87%) and to enhance their well-being (100%).
The article also included a brief history and description of extreme music, which actually is a pretty solid piece of metal journalism and worth a read on it’s own.
The purpose of this research was to test two alternative sets of hypotheses regarding the relationship between extreme music and anger under controlled experimental conditions. The first set of hypotheses followed an “extreme music causes anger” line of reasoning, and the second set of hypotheses followed an “extreme music matches and helps to process anger” line of reasoning. The results overall were supportive of the latter. Among our sample of extreme music fans in the normal range on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, the majority reported that they listened to extreme music for a range of emotional effects – most pertinently to fully experience anger and to calm themselves down when feeling angry.
The music chosen by participants included bands like Judas Priest, Amon Amarth, Megadeth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Tesseract, Rage Against the Machine, Manowar, and many more. The complete list pictured below.
In all reality, the study comes down to this: If you listen to the music you like then you will be a happier person. I’m just going to keep this study on hand to keep people off my back, because despite the fact that I own a Christmas sweater with a pentagram on it I don’t actually worship Satan.