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'Angry' music makes you happy say experts

University study suggests aggressive lyrics are good for the soul

Music with angry lyrics can help calm listeners down and make them feel happier, a study has suggested.

Researchers in Australia have concluded that aggressive lyrics from tracks like Slipknot's Opium Of The People and Tesseract's Of Matter – Retrospect actually help relax listeners.

University of Queensland honours student Leah Sharman and Genevieve Dingle, doctor of psychology, deliberately angered test subjects by asking them to recall frustrating or irritating events in their lives. They were then given the option of listening to 10 minutes of music of their choice, or spending the same time in silence.

They report that those who listened to heavy music became "inspired" and "mellow" after their listening sessions.

Sharman says: "It was interesting that half of the chosen songs contained themes of anger or aggression, with the remainder containing themes like isolation and sadness.

"Yet participants reported they used music to enhance their happiness, immerse themselves in feelings of love and enhance their wellbeing. All of the responses indicated that extreme music listeners appear to use their choice of music for positive self-regulatory purposes."

The study was published in medical journal Frontiers In Human Neuroscience. It focused on 39 regular listeners of what they call "extreme music" aged between 13 and 34. Subjects' musical choices also included Megadeth, Danzig, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Soulfly, Meshuggah and Rage Against The Machine.

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