While it’s never been proven, there’s a general sense among puritans and fun policers that heavy metal is actually bad for you. For these outsiders, that heavy metal’s loud, brash, instantaneous entertainment is the sonic equivalent of a Big Mac — huge and delicious, but not actually nutritious or fulfilling (that would make progressive experimental music a green smoothie — good for your brain, but fundamentally impossible to enjoy). However, a new study has shown that not only is heavy metal not a detriment to one’s health, but it also helps lower your blood pressure.
As reported by Consequence of Sound, Turkish hair restoration firm Vera Clinic conducted a study in an attempt to link music, stress, and hair loss. The study included 1,540 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 65, who listened to various Spotify playlists as they completed non-verbal tests which were designed to produce low stress levels.
The results were that ’80s pop, featured on a soundtrack playlist for British TV show It’s a Sin, reduced stress the most, with respondents averaging a 36% decrease in heart rate and 96% of the volunteers experiencing a reduction in blood pressure. But hot on its heels were the songs featured on the playlist “Heavy Metal Classics”, which included tracks by Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Dio, Motörhead, and Pantera. Listening to this playlist resulted in an average 18% decrease in heart rate, while 89% of the volunteers saw their blood pressure go down.
What’s the most stress-inducing music genre, you might ask? Obviously: techno. Electronic music increased heart rates by an average of 7%, with 78% of respondents showing a rise in blood pressure.
“The results may seem surprising on first inspection – but medically they make a lot of sense,” says Doctor Ömer Avlanmış, who performed the experiment for Vera Clinic. “’80s pop hits could have positive nostalgia attached to them for many people, and their upbeat, party-like sounds can induce the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, both increasing feelings of happiness and calm.”
“In terms of heavy metal, I’d observe that angry music can help listeners process their feelings and as a result lead to greater well-being.”
So the next time someone you know bitches about you playing Origin in the car, remind them: it’s for their health.
Words by Chris Krovatin