How Heavy Metal Music Affects the Brain

Heavy metal music has a reputation for being violent and chaotic, but research has demonstrated that it can actually help people cope with stress. In fact, some studies suggest it may even reduce the risk of suicide.

One study discovered that students who listened to heavy metal while studying had lower anxiety and frustration levels, improved focus, and enhanced memory.

Stress Reduction

Metal music’s loud, aggressive sound can be a stress-relieving source for many fans. It may also help them cope with negative emotions like anger and depression.

Heavy metal music’s intense, emotional lyrics can be a cathartic release for fans who need to express their emotions. Additionally, it helps them form communities of like-minded individuals and feel accepted by an expansive fan base.

Researchers have observed that listening to metal music can reduce stress hormone levels in the body and boost cognitive performance.

Recent study by scientists used MRIs to measure brain activity while participants listened to various playlists, and recorded their blood pressure and heart rate. Results revealed that listening to heavy metal music significantly lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety levels among these individuals.

Students who find studying difficult may find this especially beneficial, as music helps them process emotions and reduce tension.

Studies have also demonstrated that metal music fans tend to form deeper and more meaningful connections with others than non-fans. Furthermore, they possess higher social intelligence scores as well as a more positive self image.

Another study suggests metal music fans are less likely to commit suicide or engage in substance use as adults, possibly due to their identity as connected with strong social support networks and a sense of belonging. This could be explained by the metal music fan’s connection to his or her music-listening community.

Research from The University of Queensland has suggested that listening to heavy metal music can actually regulate people’s emotions. Contrary to past findings linking loud music with aggression and delinquency, Leah Sharman and Dr Genevieve Dingle found that those exposed to extreme music were soothed and inspired by their tunes.

The study, conducted at Vera Clinic in Brisbane, Australia, asked 1,540 volunteers to complete non-verbal stress-eliminating reasoning tests while listening to music of their choice. Participants were then fitted with a heart rate monitor and blood pressure sensor in order to monitor their exertion levels.

Memory Enhancement

Studies have suggested that listening to heavy metal music may be a beneficial way to improve memory and learning. This is likely because heavy metal contains various musical elements which stimulate the brain, aiding memory formation. Indeed, one study revealed that listening to heavy metal reduced errors made while memorizing something.

A 2015 study also discovered that heavy metal music can help you manage anger in a healthy manner. Some fans even claim this type of music to be therapeutic and an ideal way to let off some steam.

Heavy metal has often been the target of violent crimes, but it can actually be a beneficial aid for those needing to express emotions. Studies suggest that music may reduce anxiety, stress and depression – all common symptoms associated with mental illness.

Furthermore, heavy metal can encourage scientific thinking – particularly among young students prepping to enter the workforce. A 2015 study revealed that listeners to heavy metal had greater accuracy at identifying scientific facts than those exposed only to classical music or dodecaphonic music.

It is essential to note that this research was a small one, conducted by researchers at Macquarie University in Australia.

Researchers utilized a range of measures to investigate the cognitive effects of music on humans. This included an fMRI scanner, computer software measuring reaction time and other physiological data, as well as testing participants’ recall ability for items on a list.

The most remarkable feature of the fMRI scanner was its calibration to specific frequencies and amplitude, so different types of music could be played to each participant. Results showed heavy metal had the highest level of stimulation while MRI also detected significant changes in participants’ brain activity while listening to heavy metal music.

Anxiety Reduction

Studies have demonstrated that heavy metal music helps people relax and de-stress. It has even been known to increase positive emotions after a triggering event and help you relax faster than other types of music do.

Another study revealed that people who listened to metal music felt more powerful and had better control over their negative feelings. Furthermore, they were able to reduce their levels of anger faster than other listeners.

Metal has also been known to reduce anxiety and elevate moods through a sense of accomplishment. This could result in improved self-worth, increased confidence, and an overall sense of belonging.

For people suffering from depression, metal can provide an uplifting emotional release. Furthermore, it helps to stimulate serotonin production – the chemical responsible for creating feelings of contentment.

Heavy metal music has also been said to improve cognitive skills and enable you to process information more intricately. Furthermore, listening to this music may promote stronger connections with others by instilling a sense of belonging and empathy.

Constructing close friendships with like-minded individuals is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety. It may also boost your self-esteem, providing encouragement to pursue new hobbies or interests.

One study even discovered that heavy metal can help you relax after a traumatic event. They discovered listeners were able to reduce their anger much more rapidly after being put in an environment where other people made them angry.

People suffering from anxiety and depression often turn to heavy metal for help. The genre’s loyal fans, and the camaraderie they share with other fans, can make them feel more connected in a positive way.


Heavy metal music has often been associated with blasphemous merchandise and suicide accusations, but fans also say it helps them cope with difficult events. Indeed, a recent study revealed that those who enjoy listening to this genre report an improvement in their mental health.

One of the benefits of being a fan of heavy metal is having access to an expansive community to share your enthusiasm with. Many metalheads say being part of something larger than themselves helps them feel part of something much greater and creates an important sense of camaraderie for their wellbeing.

Studies have demonstrated that fans of this music tend to lead more social lives than non-fans. Furthermore, those who appreciate listening to it tend to participate in more social activities like parties than non-fans do.

Recent research from Macquarie University has revealed that regular listeners of heavy metal music are no more sensitive to violence than non-fans, despite its lyrical content about anger and death. Instead, the music helps them de-stress and process their feelings safely.

Another potential benefit of heavy metal is that it can improve mood and self-esteem in some individuals. Studies have revealed that this genre can make people feel inspired and motivated, as well as helping them work through difficult experiences in their lives.

Studies have also suggested that listening to heavy metal music can aid with anger management. In a 2015 study, researchers made people angry by playing their preferred extreme music for some time and then asked them to sit in silence while they waited for their levels of rage to diminish.

After listening to this music, fans were able to reduce their anger and increase feelings of inspiration. This was because the music aroused people’s emotions and caused them to become active – the same response as approaching a problem from an entirely different angle.