Heavy Metal has saved my life on many occasions.
It game me a tribe to belong to when I was in danger of packing it all in because I was miserable.
I have a collection of incredible friends for the last 15+ years and our shared love for metal brought us together. Being “outcasts” in a very “normal” place like Castlebar kept us together. We suffered from that snide condescension that far too many early 20-somethings do, which meant we knew that we were by far and away the superiors of all the people around us because we understood and loved something they didn’t and never would. The open hostility shown to us by your standard issue Mayo red-neck citizen because we dared to have long hair or dress differently only re-enforced this of course.
But for me it’s a big help with mood management. If I’m angry (and I used to be an extremely angry young man), I listen to angry music and feel the anger along with it. When the song ends, I almost always feel better. When an entire album ends, I definitely feel much better. Slayer were a particular favourite of mine (the first ever proper metal gig I went to was Slayer in the SFX on their Diablos In Musica tour in July 2000), Pantera and Sepultura also helped – early Thrash basically. As time went on, I started to include Death Metal bands like Deicide, Dying Fetus and Decapitated (no, I don’t know why they all start with a D either). Lately I’ve been including stuff like Ministry, Meshuggah and Mastodon (looks like I’m trapped in an alliteration loop).
Mostly I listen to Doom Metal – take all the negativity and terrible things in the world and make it into musical form and that’s Doom. Think Black Sabbath, except much, much slower and much, much heavier. Nothing hits the spot like some Electric Wizard or Yob or Slomatics when your mood is at rock bottom. Living your mood vicariously though the music has gotten me out of so many dark and dreary holes that I can’t even begin to count how often I’ve needed it.
Then there are the days when you’re mood is good and you just want to listen to excellent music. Those are the days that we give aside to Gojira, Coffinworm, Deftones, Mael Mórdha or Cthulhu knows what else. My Last.fm profile is here, it’ll tell you everything you need to know.
So if someone you know that’s older than 16 is listening to angry, shouty music, or indeed deathly slow and fear inducing dirges, maybe it’s because they’ve got some serious problems and it helps, but mostly it means they have impeccable taste