… Just kidding, but many people would agree adolescents should stop listening to extreme forms of heavy metal such as death and black metal because it can trigger depression and other psychological disorders. Now you may be questioning or perhaps laughing at my previous statement, but first take a listen to death metal band Stormtroopers of Death and their nice, uplifting song titled “Kill Yourself.”
That was pleasant, right?
Actually, for some people, it might have been. Fans of heavy metal music tend to be social outcasts that were dealt a bad hand in life. When Jason Forster was asked in an interview what heavy metal fans strive to be, he replied, brutal. Adolescent teens who enjoy heavy metal music thing the more brutal, the better. The majority of these people find comfort in aggressive heavy metal music because it provides an outlet for anger and stress and can also serve as an escape from reality. However, a smaller group of people, primarily adolescents, are negatively effected by the music and report feeling more depressed than before listening to the music. This is the group we are concerned about today.
A case study conducted in 1993 by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry was one of the first group of researchers to explore whether or not heavy metal music and depression had any real connection to each other. The researchers discovered that 70% of depressed teenage boys preferred heavy metal music. Depressed teenage girls were found to be more drawn to pop music because the genre negatively effects their self image. Of the depressed students who preferred heavy metal music, 66% of the girls and 31% of the guys had suicidal thoughts in the previous six months. This proportion of suicidal heavy metal fans is far greater than any other genre.
The main factor to why heavy metal is believed to be connected with depression is still unknown. Maybe its just the sound of the music that some young minds cannot deal with. The songs that are so aggressive and angry sounding they feed into the notion that the world is a horrible place not worth living in. Others believe the lyrics in heavy metal music, as shown in the “Kill Yourself” video are to blame, but heavy metal is not the only genre to incorporate suicide into music. So could it just be the culture and appearance of the bands who are promoting their music? Swedish band Shining makes a good case for this theory.
A fan who attended one of Shining’s chaotic concerts shared his experience with blabbermouth.net The fan explained that there was countless fights that broke out during the concert but that was not the shocking part. The craziest part was when the lead singer took a break from singing about violence and death to tell a fan in attendance to kill himself as he handed him a real razor blade!Imagine if you had a suicidal teenager that went a Shining concert. He could potentially be be given the weapon to kill himself by the band performing. An unbelievable story that would only surface in the heavy metal subcultures.
To close, a direct cause-and-effect between heavy metal music and suicide will likely never be found because there are so many other influences that contribute to a person’s state of mind. Some think heavy metal music can cause depression while others think the assumption is ridiculous. https://twitter.com/zam_nooratikah/status/462507062510247936 https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton14/status/461911334461120513
However, research on the connection between heavy metal and depression is very valuable because it can be used to help prevent adolescents that are negatively effected by heavy metal music. Parents: please listen to this short public service announcement if you’d like to know how to help your children.
Cope, Andrew L.. Black Sabbath and the rise of heavy metal music. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2010. Print.
Forster, Jason. “Commodified Evil’s Wayward Children: Black Metal and Death Metal as Purveyors of an Alternative Form of Modern Escapism.” ir.canterbury.ac.nz. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2104. <http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092
Martin, G, M Clarke, and C Pearce. "Adolescent Suicide: Music Preference as an Indicator of Vulnerability." Family Concern Publishing. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. .
Minino, Arialdi. “NcHS Data Brief.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 May 2010. Web. 4 May 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/d
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“Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.) – Kill Yourself (Lyrics).” YouTube. YouTube, 26 Jan. 2012. Web. 5 May 2014. .