Metal Music Makes You Smarter; No I’m Not Kidding

If you think this is about Metallica or Megadeth, get out.

When you hear metal music, do you think of the screaming, indecipherable lyrics, the graphic images on t-shirts, or the head-banging that gives the elderly a headache?

Metal music, made popular in the late 60s to early 70s, is one of the most controversial subjects in the world of music. Some consider it the reason for an increase of violent crimes in cities such as London and New York. Others believe it’s a harmless way to let out anger and process emotional trauma. 

Studies in recent years have proven most wives’ tales wrong about metal. In fact, certain genres of metal can make you smarter, improving critical thinking skills and memory retention.

This phenomena was seen in a study at Heriot-Watt University. Certain types of music, including metal and classical, have unique time signatures that require the brain to change neuron pathways to keep up with the changing of the tempo. As this process continues and is repeated frequently, the brain can shape these pathways better which allows it to learn and retrieve information easier and faster. 

Specific progressive metal bands, such as Dream Theater, Seventh Wonder, or Queensrÿche have incredibly similar time signatures to the majority of classical music. 

Another recent study conducted by the University of London in 2018 showed that over a third of students attending there, who performed in the top five percent, picked heavy metal as one of their top three genres of music. The author of this study explained how negativity is often purged with this music, since the more gifted students also noted that they were bullied and excluded from “regular” activities and social status quos. 

Listeners of metal have been known to have low self esteem and higher levels of depression, according to University of Queensland researcher Leah Sharman. However, metal music is used by its fans to help process emotions that are difficult to go through and can help them in their life journey. In Sharman’s words, “Music can be an excellent way to get your negative emotions out without hurting yourself.” 

Another fascinating fact discovered is that not every metal fan is a Satanist. This common myth was debunked by sociologist Jeffrey Arnett, who conducted a poll connecting music to religion. In this poll, the question of what type of music was preferred was then followed by their personal faith in religion, or lack thereof. Most participants that were under the heavy metal genre identified as either atheist or agnostic, with approximately twenty percent of volunteers identifying as one of the many Christian denominations. Only six percent of participants identified as either Pagan or Satanist. The fact that Satanism, in and of itself, is seen as a horrible thing is an entirely different myth that can be debunked later. 

  This poll also showed the artistic side of metal fans. Almost 70% of metal fans either played an instrument or were in a band of a similar genre. Practically all of the metal fan participants noted that their favorite genre of music had inspired them to do something more with their lives. Members of this study were also shown to have a more challenging journey in life compared to others who identified with different genres of music. Most members of the poll stated that they had experienced a difficult upbringing, highlighting their adolescence as being one of their hardest times emotionally and mentally.

Metal music has a way worse reputation than it deserves, with its fans being some of the most gifted and talented people in society. These people are usually proven to be more emotionally/mentally stable, have higher thinking skills, and are happier with themselves. Every genre of music has made such an amazing impact on society that it’s difficult to imagine life without it.