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The strong link between heavy metal and high intelligence

by Brett Stevens
July 27, 2013 –

heavy_metal_high_intelligenceAfter years of society looking down its nose at heavy metal, it appears to be showing up in unusual places: high intelligence occupations, health and academia.

Even though metalheads are still a discriminated-against group, with long hair for men, tattoos, loud music, mentions of Satan and chaos magick banned in many workplaces and government offices, the forces of metal are rising worldwide.

Wired reports on an intelligence-research prodigy in China who, after mastering difficult subjects in a fraction of the time it would require even another gifted person, takes the day off to see a “Satanic heavy metal concert.” Then returns to studying intelligence itself.

Over on the Wall Street Journal, Jon Wiederhorn reminds us that “Metal Music Can Be Good For You,” mentioning among other things that metal can “keep fans that have been scarred by trauma feeling alive and surrounded by family” and that “heavy metal has never faded into obscurity.”

All of this follows an article from a few years ago, “Gifted Students Beat The Blues With Heavy Metal”, which revealed how many who society would consider its best and brightest are turning to metal.

At DeathMetal.org, we don’t find this surprising. Metal is more brainy at the compositional level, meaning how the riffs fit together to develop themes, than rock music or even jazz, which tend to be cyclic. It tackles the big subjects that people would rather forget about, and thus attracts the smarter alienated teens who find the lack of order in life to be appalling.

But best of it, it delivers a punch to life. Like spice in food, combat, sky-diving or a new idea, metal brings out the terrifying and empowering all at once, making us view life with new eyes. That could be the healthiest of all.

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8 comments

  • Dominating Fucker

    An emotional quality that in some respects resembles sublimity has been almost completely forgotten. Melancholy is no less complex a phenomenon than sublimity, and it has a role to play in many works of art including many early Black Metal albums!
    One feature that makes melancholy an aesthetic emotion-like that of sublimity-is its dual nature. There are negative and positive aspects in it which alternate, creating contrasts and rhythms of pleasure. These aspects combine with the reflectivity that is at the heart of melancholy, and the particular refined feeling of the emotion. Like every emotion, melancholy arises out of a particular context, but with melancholy its various aspects come together to create an aesthetic situation around itself that gives the context a new aesthetic dimension.

    Reply
  • Jack

    I have been into all types of metal for a long time. It gave me a home and a place to belong when i was younger, yet it continued to nurture my growing sense of musicianship as i became older as well. Heavy metal is more than just a type of music. Its an entire counterculture, and not one that is befuddled or based on ignorant pretext like other counter cultures some might mention (ie Hiphop, hardcore, punk rock.) While many genres have a following that boasts a sort of brother hood or social stigma, metal stands alone in its ability to present composition worthy of higher thinking. It proves to be an acquired taste for many who listen due to the sheer versatility and technicality that it offers.
    metal is one of the few types of music that can have thousands of bands that all sound completely different from one another as well. To truly understand the brotherhood that every real metal head is a part up, you have to truly open your eyes and your mind and realize how vast a word as ambiguous as metal really is. When I started out, I was listening to priest and maiden which gave way to more of the NWOBHM bands. Power metal soon followed, same with thrash, same with death metal and black metal. All of these subgenres sound so vastly different from one another, yet even those listed barely scratch the surface of this broad and mighty form of music. Its one of the few types of music that can truly link one sound to another through gradual progression of musical themes rather than following separate trends and alienating its followers. I could wear a blind guardian tshirt and walk up to someone wearing an emperor tshirt and probably start a conversation based on that alone. he may prefer black metal which sounds completely different than powermetal, yet we are still part of the same brotherhood that is heavy metal. ill keep my horns up for all my days friends! stay heavy!

    Reply
  • bitterman

    The sad thing is I feel a lot of intelligent people I know listen to something like Slaughter of the Soul because of it’s forcefed faux-intellectual assessment on politics and social unrest delivered in a package where paying attention is unnecessary. The soundtrack to people that had potential who gave up to fatalism long ago, maybe?

    Reply
    1. fenrir

      I listen to that album because I like what they did musically. I like the lyrics not only because of the topics but because of the aesthetic as well.
      Btw, I don’t think there is any link between listening to heavy metal and high intelligence. I know plenty of idiots who like heavy metal. I also know people who are very intelligent yet are not into heavy metal.

      Reply
  • Mussukka

    I’m not the typical metal listener, just a geek who like’s to listen to all kinds of metal. My favorite’s are probably Pantera and Amorphis.

    I kind of agree with this, because most of my friends listen to some category of metal and at the same time are probably quite a bit smarter about other things like politics than the regular rapper at the night clubs.

    “Btw, I don’t think there is any link between listening to heavy metal and high intelligence. I know plenty of idiots who like heavy metal. I also know people who are very intelligent yet are not into heavy metal.”

    Of course every genre of music will have dumb and intelligent followers if the genre becomes enough massive to drive mob mentality into stealing the sheep from other groups. Have you never told some of your no metal friends how good metal is and how shitty pop is? Some of them will not like it, but some of them may slowly start to like it.

    Reply

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