We’ve always suspected it, though now we have the stats to back up our hypothesis: death metal music sparks more joy in listeners than it does violence.
In a new study from Sydney’s Macquarie University, it has been revealed that the often-shunned genre is actually quite good for your head. So yeah, hop on the death metal train – it’s good for you.
“The dominant emotional response to this music is joy and empowerment“: Turns out that Death Metal music actually sparks positive feelings in your brain.
Conducted by Professor Bill Thompson and his research staff, the study brought together 32 death meal fans and 48 non-fans, and got them to listen to both death metal music and pop music while viewing unpleasant images.
The songs utilised in this ground-breaking experiment were Bloodbath’s 2004 cannibalism-inspired track Eaten and Pharrell Williams’ track Happy. The experiment’s aim was to measure how much the listener’s brains noticed violent scenes, and to determine how their sensitivity was affected by the music being played.
And, Thompson says: “The [death metal] fans showed the very same bias towards processing these violent images as those who were not fans of this music.”
“[Death metal] fans are nice people. They’re not going to go out and hurt someone,” he said.
“Many people enjoy sad music, and that’s a bit of a paradox — why would we want to make ourselves sad? The same can be said of music with aggressive or violent themes. For us, it’s a psychological paradox — so we’re curious, and at the same time we recognize that violence in the media is a socially significant issue.”
“If fans of violent music were desensitized to violence, which is what a lot of parent groups, religious groups and censorship boards are worried about, then they wouldn’t show this same bias. But the fans showed the very same bias towards processing these violent images as those who were not fans of this music.”
“The dominant emotional response to this music is joy and empowerment. And I think that to listen to this music and to transform it into an empowering, beautiful experience — that’s an amazing thing.”
Well, there you have it. These are exciting times we live in, people.