But that’s the funny thing: In my experience, metal isn’t for angry people. It’s bigger than anger. Better, even. I’ve found most metal musicians and heavy music aficionados aren’t nearly as pissed off and angry as people assume.
And that got me thinking: Is it possible that listening to angry music could make people happier? Do hours and years of loud riffs and screeching vocals pummeling your ear drums actually mellow you out? It’s a theory backed up in a recent study conducted by Maya Tamir and Brett Ford, researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
A theory, a study! Hell, I thought that was conventional wisdom if not outright cliché. I lost count a couple decades ago of how many musicians credited punk and metal with keeping them alive and out of jail. Just to take one example of many off the top of my head, here’s Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity/Down in an interview with RIP from early 1992:
“I couldn’t find a better outlet,” Cajun guitarist Pepper Keenan swears. “At the time I was in high school. You had all these rich kids who went to therapists to get their heads together. I just went to a Black Flag show and beat the shit out of people for a half an hour, just sweated like a maniac, and everything was cool Monday morning when the first bell rang. It totally got me through high school!”