MyrandaBaker Mr.BriggsEnglishComposition 1 11November, 2017 Not Killing Me Softly With This Song Musicis widely accessible from all forms of media with the capability of influencingattitude and to manipulate emotions, and listeners are drawn to music thatreflects their emotional state. Heavy metal is a genre that is characterized bychaotic, loud, heavy, and powerful sounds with emotional vocals, oftencontaining themes of anxiety, depression, social isolation, and loneliness (Shafronand Karon 74).
Due to these musical characteristics, heavy metal has beenclaimed to lead to anger, and expressions of anger such as delinquency, druguse, and suicidal tendencies (Selfhout et al. 443). Heavy metal originated in thesurrounding areas of Birmingham, England, during the late 1960s and early 1970swith bands such as The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix (tech rock). During the early 70s,most of the world’s population was still recovering from the turmoil that plaguedthe 60s causing new genres of music to emerge, one of which was heavy metal.Black Sabbath- one of the first bands that originated in Birmingham- gave avoice to the time of despair. “At the forefront of the controversy surrounding extrememusic is the prominence of aggressive lyrics and titles, such as “Pure Hatred”by Chimaira, and “Violent Revolution” by the band Kreator” (ncbi). The subculture of the music, as well as thegeneralized sound, has led to the accusations that heavy metal causes suicide, aggression,and depression.
Studies conducted by Karen R. Scheeland John S. Westfeld have proven that one’s emotional state, home life, and historyof substance abuse play an imperative role in what music he or she prefers. Intheir studies people who are suicidal prefer to listen grunge, heavy metal, andscremo.
Though, heavy metal tends to draw people who are suicidal not, viseversa. “The impact of the heavy metal music subculture on suicide has been thesubject of much public debate but little scholarly research” (Stack 19).Nonetheless, heavy metal has been accused of being the leading cause of suicideon multiple accounts, including the instance where two families sued heavymetal band Judas Priest for supposedly driving their sons to suicide (Rother). “Reno, December 23-Two days beforeChristmas in 1985 two young Nevada men shot themselves after listening tomultiple albums by the heavy metal band Judas Priest. The families had arguedthat the musicians had played subliminal messages in several recordings,including the album “Stained Class,” thereby enticing the two troubled youngmen to try and kill themselves” (Rotehr). As the investigation continued bothmen were discovered as having a long line of domestic and drug abuse, and whilethe suicide letters wrote that Judas Priest and several other bands blatantly drovethe men to suicide, Judas Priest was not held legally responsible for the deathof the two men (Giles). Since this tragic event, many studies have beenconducted in an attempt to find out the psychological effects heavy metal hason teens and young adults. Musicalcharacteristic such as delinquency, drug use, and suicidal tendencies have beenlinked to heavy metal, though it is not the music or the subculture that causesthese issues.
There are multiple factors that play into one’s suicidal thoughtsand acts, such as home life, personal life, and work life, heavy metal ismerely an escape.