For ages, extreme metalheads have fielded one question from parents, teachers, and non-metal friends more than any other: “How can you even listen to that? It’s so violent and angry!”
Now, a new psychological study is seeking to determine an answer.
According to a recent profile in Scientific American, Australian metalhead and professor William Forde Thompson and his colleagues have examined the appeal of death metal. He and his colleagues have published three papers about death metal this year, focusing on what draws listeners to such violent, gruesome music.
Thompson’s major discovery will surprise everyone except metalheads--that fans of death metal are actually very nice people.
“The ubiquitous stereotype of death metal fans—fans of music that contains violent themes and explicitly violent lyrics—[is] that they are angry people with violent tendencies,” according to Thompson. “What we are finding is that they are not angry people. They’re not enjoying anger when they listen to the music, but they are in fact experiencing a range of positive emotions.”
You can read Thompson’s full report here, and listen to some uplifting affirmation music below: