Study Finds Death Metal Music Inspires Feelings Of Joy & Empowerment In Listeners


While violence may seem intrinsic to the death metal genre, a new study conducted by the Music Lab of Sydney, Australia’s Macquarie University has come up with some surprising findings of the genre’s emotional impact.

As part of a decades long study into the emotional effects of music on people, 32 death metal fans and 48 non-fans of the genre were enlisted, being subjected to either neutral images or violent imagery while listening to Bloodbath‘s “Eaten” or Pharrel Williams‘ “Happy“.

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As part of the test the researchers also sought to seek out if fans of death metal were desensitized to violence—or at least violent imagery—through the concept of binocular rivalry. Ultimately the study found that listening to death metal brought an emotional response of joy and empowerment, as Prof Bill Thompson told BBC:

“The dominant emotional response to this music is joy and empowerment. And I think that to listen to this music and to transform it into an empowering, beautiful experience – that’s an amazing thing.”

Bloodbath/Paradise Lost frontman Nick Holmes also weighed in on the findings of the study and his band’s music being used in it, offering in part:

“The majority of death metal fans are intelligent, thoughtful people who just have a passion for the music. “It’s the equivalent of people who are obsessed with horror movies or even battle re-enactments.”

You can find more from Thompson and Holmes at this location.

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