Science: Listening to Metal Makes You Happy

A new study proves that listening to "angry" music leaves people with a better sense of well-being - and Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher agrees.

Ultimate Guitar

A study has shown that "angry" music like metal can actually leave the listener feeling calm and happy.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem asked 175 people to role-play a confrontation after listening to music of their choice, that sounded either angry, happy or neutral.

While the people who chose angry music were more likely to complete the task, they were also found to have a stronger sense of well-being compared to people who actively avoided feeling unpleasant.

"Rather than seeking happiness at all times, it may be important to seek happiness at the right time," said Maya Tamir who worked on the project with Brett Ford. "Encouraging people to seek happiness and shun unhappiness irrespective of context may not necessarily be adaptive in the long run."

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher reacted to the study in a piece at the Atlantic, basic king up a theory that metal musicians are generally cool and confident in their being.

"Most of the people I've met in this genre have been super cool people to me," he said. "Tom Araya from Slayer is one of the most laid-back, nicest, always-smiling guys. He plays [some of] the heaviest, most satanic music out there."

"When I go out to see my favorite band and I see somebody just shredding the guitar riffs I know, I just kind of laugh," he adds. "I have an overwhelming sense of happiness."

How does metal music make you happy? Tell us about it in the comments, and hit "Like" if you feel the same when you hear metal guitar riffs.

66 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Mr. Von Eichel
    Metal or Rock makes me happy because the lyrics can make me feel something, they come from the heart and the story is portrayed through each instrument. It isn't what some guy has written for you and told you to play.
    I have always told people that i metal makes me clear minded and relaxed and they called me a lunatic , its good to finally have a proof
    Of being a lunatic? Nah just joking. I read an article about what headbanging does to your brain. Apparantly it makes your brain release comforting particles, relaxing your mental state.
    Even in the work place, it ironic that the guys listening to metal are generally the hardest and best workers in their area. while the people who listen to anything else, hip/hop, techno, rap, whatever, are generally the weaker workers. Just a personal observation. Heavy music guys seem to kinda be the know-it-alls, ill admit to acting like one, while the others are more the kiss ass and get by kinda people.
    Not only that but I dont see any metal bands doing things like the "twerk" and making fools out of themselves like Miley Cyrus did...
    To be fair, that show by Miley Cyrus was one of the funniest things I've ever seen (especially the Smith family faces =D) and it made me quite happy after watching it.
    actually it was revealed that the smith family wasn't reacting to it and it was a photo from a different part of the night
    Metal fans are without doubt the most pleasant fans of all. Never felt more relaxed at a festival than a metal festival!
    I've been to alot of metal/rock gigs, never any trouble, couple of weeks ago, Eminem plays here, 150 people get arrested and a girl gives head to a load of guys on camera, last year, Swedish House Mafia played here and 11 people got stabbed, i'm not saying that people that listen to Eminem or SHM are scumbags but where I live it's just the type of people they attract to their gigs.
    Agreed, someone I know got their shoulder dislocated in a 'moshpit' at Chase and Status at Leeds this year and yet I've never had any trouble at any of the rock/metal gigs I've been to, neither have any of my mates
    metal has always been an avenue for strength for me. its makes me more confident, brave and persistent in everyday life. i dont go a day without, and im much better off than i would be without it
    Im pretty sure listening to your favorite music(any music genre you like) makes you calm and happy. not just metal. does country music make country fans want to slit their veins? does pop music make pop fans want to beat up babies? no, it makes them all happy. If it didnt, then they wouldnt be hearing it...
    True, I don't know why people are still making studies like this. I thought it was obvious that listening to music you like makes you happy.
    It does say 'asked to listen to music of their choice' though. Everyone listened to music they liked, but the metal fans came out happiest apparently. Although I do agree that studies like this are a bit of a waste of resources to be honest, whatever the results turn out to be :L
    Very true Does that mean that all the people in the study liked metal? Or did they not know they liked metal until they actually heard it and admitted that they liked it?
    Couldnt agree more. I'm definitely a much more relaxed and happy person after a good metal listening session \m/
    People who are tensed too often seek to listen calm and soothing music to calm them down and people who are chill tend to listen to angry music to give them an adrenaline boost. Once they are done listening, the former go back to being tensed and the latter go back to being chill. Hence the illusion that metal makes you calm. That's just my theory though.
    I agree I think this was more a matter of the subject than the music. Each person CHOSE what music to listen to. I think metal ppl are the most calm and chill ppl there are in the first place.
    Metal is for the outcasts. The ones' picked and prodded at. The music comforts you as you hear people spilling lyrics you can relate too. It reminds the listener they are not alone.
    So this is why Justin's beaver and one direction fans are always so mad...
    Didn't "science" also recently link metal to depression and anger?
    because depressed, angry people seek out metal to unwind. i get pissed, listen to metal, feel better; not feel fine, listen to metal, then get pissed.
    You could equally argue that angry/depressed people listen to metal to make themselves happier. People always seem to assume causality in one way but never the other way.
    Country shows believe it or not are pretty violent. There's always fights everywhere. I've rarely seen these cases at a metal show. Best crowd there is
    Metalheads unwind their agression in the shows with mututal understanding, they don't need to get into a fight, when they can go to a moshpit or bang their heads like crazy.
    Lots of angry drunks tend to be packed into a confined space at country shows.
    "Science: Listening to Metal Makes You Happy" Uhh, Drrrrr! Why the **** else would any body be listening to it? This is some news!
    if the article were "science: listening to metal makes you depressed", I guarantee the top comment would be something like "science is stupid" or something along those lines.
    Sleaze Disease
    I agree, but there was a time when I was listening to nothing but black and death metal and I noticed I slowly developed a bad mood for awhile until I stopped.
    I've been telling my family and friends this for years. Finally, science has my back. SCIENCE BITCHES.
    Whenever I hear an awesome metal riff it gives me goosebumps and a big smile goes across my face. Thats why I can't listen to music around my friends cuz if I'm feeling it I have to show it
    Really? Cause metal makes me feel like ****ing shit up. ...which, I guess, kinda makes me happy. Ok, so this makes sense.
    Silver Blues
    I have known this for years. Nice to see some science bolster the metalheads instead of smiting them. And I totally agree with Kelliher. There's a little unison tapping lick near the end of Blotted Science's Synaptic Plasticity that always makes me smile a little.
    10/20/2011 "Heavy Metal Fans A Suicide Risk?" "Worrying research from Melbourne University has today suggested that fans of heavy metal music could be at higher risk of suicide."
    If im pissed at someone, id rather listen stuff about beating the shit out of someone, then beating the shit out of someone!! gota love my slayer discography
    The music bitches! The rhythm and those heavy riffs just..take all the pain out of my body \m/ 3 cheers to the guy who did research on this I guess the music just makes ur mind free of all thoughts and just makes you concentrate on those riffs and solos..awesome it is. !
    Based on 175 people. That clearly means that everyone else is the same. Fucking idiots.
    Nice reaction. Have you read the paper? Do you actually know what conclusions were drawn? Do you think that they are actually saying this? Not all research is perfect, but it's really tough to get a phD by making wild and unsubstantiated claims.
    Every other month there is a new "study" done on metal it seems. 1 month they find it leads to depression, the next it makes people happy. Whatever.