Is it any wonder why once-great bands eventually have a steady decline and fall? Or why a lot of the greatest musical endeavors in metal are embarked upon by young males in their prime?
Maybe so many shitty indie-metal bands are coming out lately because of something in the water. Birth control hormones? Bisphenol A? Lack of exercise and red meat? Too much beer (containing phytoetsrogens)? Alcohol in general (inhibits proliferation of free testosterone)?
No wonder Wolves In The Throne Room are connected with indie hipsters (fashionista/crusty vegans
enjoy this kind of faux black metal) and they came from Seattle.
I think this connection has been made before somewhere but I can't recall the name of the thread.
In the hypothetic:
Let's assume good music (incl. metal music and other styles) coincides with high testosterone levels during prenatal development in the musician(s) who composed it, as well as having higher free blood testosterone levels.
Manning recruited 54 male musicians from a British symphony orchestra. He discovered that these men had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios than controls -- they had a very "masculine" ratio. Even more striking, when he compared the top-ranked "first" musicians with their lower-ranked colleagues -- a measure of their relative ability-the former had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios. Could testosterone really predispose the brain to be more tuned in to music? Manning thinks so.
The vast majority of musicians (especially metal musicians) are male. With the above evidence, this is no coincidence.
Testosterone is a significant "motivator" hormone in men, contributing to mental and physical energy. Highly-motivated and extroverted men have higher levels of testosterone.
This may be independent to the prenatal testosterone levels, since there are a significant number of asocial and relatively "depressed" or "unmotivated" metal musicians - this could be a sign of low testosterone
Why productivity fades with age: The crime–genius connection by Satoshi Kanazawa, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury.
Satoshi had this to say...
The age–genius curves among jazz musicians, painters and authors are also similar to the age–crime curve.
Further, marriage has a strong desistance effect on both crime and genius.
I argue that this is because both crime and genius stem from mens evolved psychological mechanism which compels them to be highly competitive in early adulthood but - turns off - when they get married and have children.
Fluctuating levels of testosterone, which decreases when men get married and have children, can provide the biochemical microfoundation for this psychological mechanism.
He mentions marriage and children as the primary reason behind this decline, but as we all know, there are many other causes.
The take home message of the paper is, once you hit a certain benchmark, be it age, marriage, or whatever, T levels drop, and you lose your edge, your drive, and your mental sharpness.
You settle, become complacent, and less creative.
(these statements are based off of this paper
. (PDF version with charts)
Another point: Complex music (beyond the complexity of your typical pop/rock structure) takes navigational and memory capacity to process and comprehend. People with high levels of testosterone (males) benefit from good visual-spatial skills. I have no evidence of the connection but I'm sure there needs to be some present capacity for a person's mind to be able to digest and build those musical structures.
But in seriousness: Comments, inqiries or contributions to this thread?