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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:22 am 

There was a thread on this topic before, but it degenerated into utter bolloxology (unfortunately, given that there were some genuinely insightful posts at the start of it) so I figured starting a different one was viable.

What's folks' takes on the link between mental health and metal? I mean legitimately, not just the "when i hear band x i get depressed because they're so shit hurhurhur" nonsense. Over the last year in particular, I've found myself on the wrong end of negotiations with my mental health issues numerous times. Inspired by a conversation with a similarly unfortunate friend, it made me think about the kind of music I was listening to when i was really in the trenches with it. I think, on reflection, that the link between depression (in particular) and metal is something of a moebius strip - it's impossible to say which "causes" the other, but the two are (in my opinion/experience at least) definitely connected. I do know that in certain moods/mindsets, it's impossible to listen to music at all, where in others you'll want to push the limits of the extremity of listening, even if only to see if it can make you feel anything.

I'm not going to claim to be some unilateral authority on this because depression is a hellishly broad term and every sufferer's circumstances and manifestations are different, but what experiences have others had in similar situations? Do you find yourself retreating to the comfort of old familiar artists/albums like a security blanket? Do you seek out new levels of extremity? Or do you simply find that even listening to any music is too much?

Reason behind starting this thread is simply thus - I'm curious as to the effects that other people's depressions/various issues have on them and how it affects their attachemnt to/enjoyment of the kind of music and themes that for so many of us, are a key part of our psycholoigical makeup. A lot of people, seemingly metal lovers in particular, are very insular when it comes to mental health and the discussion thereof and will oftentimes seek solace in music rather than reaching out. I'm basically trying to figure out why that is, and how it manifests in other people. Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:51 am 

I listen to music from eras of my life where life was particularly good.. Today it gets me that feel good factor... So its more music and feel good factor by association..If that makes sense... Although naturally a good riff always hits the spot on its own merit...


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:42 pm 

Firstly, I hope you're doing ok, Mike, I noticed you haven't been on as much, recently. All the best to you, fella.

I can only speak for my own mind but I try to keep a balance with what I listen to. When I'm sad, some sad music is absolutely therapeutic but I find it can be easy to wallow so I always try to mix it up with different moods and different energy levels.

I'm generally a glass-half-full kind of person. I've never been able to latch on to overly nihilistic or dark lyrics. Relentless bleakness, lyrically, is a major factor in me reaching for the "off" button, as is the constant aggression of, say, Meshuggah. I need light to go with the darkness. For people who can listen to that kind of stuff all the time, fair play if it rocks your boat. I've found music to be something which has challenged me to open my mind and evaluate my thought process and, if you're continually listening to negative and aggressive content, it stands to reason that mentally you might spend a lot of time close to that mindset.

Like Des, most of my listening these days is from good times and my memory continually references the music I was listening to at the time. I'm aware now that pretty much everything which has stood the test of time for me has some kind of positivity to it, or some kind of grand conceptual nature to it. I listen to very little happy-being-sad or constant introspection/self-absorbed lyrics. I like positive energy rather than self-directed aggression. Whether that's a reflection of my psyche or my psyche is a reflection of that, I do not know.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:56 pm 

cheers juggz, I'm doing much better than previously.

"Whether that's a reflection of my psyche or my psyche is a reflection of that, I do not know." is basically the entirety of what I'm trying to get at here, put much better than I did in my essay :lol:

What I think I mean is, does one's mental state influence your choice of music more than the reverse?

I know this is a potential rabbit-hole of a topic, but it's something that is utterly fascinating to me. The mind is a strange beast!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:41 pm 

For me,when Im caught in that horrible dark fog I cant listen to any music happy or sad, I mean I'll put on a record or film or tv show to try and take my mind off things but find that they'll end with me barely noticing they were playing cos my mind just cant focus. But when Im feeling good I can listen to loads of heavy grim music (not just metal but anything from Nico to Gorecki to Joy Division) and have real appreciation for it knowing the type of place it comes from.

Timing of this thread hits home for me, my closest family member is my 17 year old nephew who's more like a little bro to me, been going through a rough period mentally, Ive been up every night just trying to talk to him, most heartbreaking thing is seeing how similar he is to me and trying to explain to him what to expect and how to deal with it, gonna be a long road all the same.

Personally was going through a shit time this time last year but around the summer my circumstances changed and it was like sunshine breaking through clouds, been doing great since and when feeling good i swore to myself if I knew anyone going through the shit Id do anything I can to help, even just an ear without being judgemental or trying to advise. Have nothing but love and empathy for anyone going through the struggle, look after your (and eachother's) head lads


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:03 pm 

Very much a mixture for me. If I am down some music that I can empathize with really helps. Being a bit of a loner and overthinking everything hearing someone else sing about what ever is going on can be a lot more therapeutic than talking about it. For me at least. The filp side to that I think is that its important to not allow depressing music to become a crutch and possible shape your personality, maybe more relevant when your younger.

I do remember a few years ago being in a complete funk (not depressed) and hearing Even Flow on the radio and it completely picked me up. Not even a huge Pearl Jam fan but like others said the memories attached to that song picked me up.

Metal fans being insular is a fair point but one of the things metal lyrics do offer among all their faults is the acknowledgment that life is not always full of beauty and life can be darker than you expect or want it to be.

Anyways Mike hope your doing well.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:52 pm 

If I'm in a certain frame of mind, I do find myself going for my old favourites, because the emotions expressed in them can often match my mood (one of the reasons why they became my favourites). I wouldn't say I find myself more or less depressed because of it, it's almost comforting/cathartic (whatever suits depending on the frame of mind) to know that these emotions I'm experiencing match the music, so it makes me feel less alone.

For example, if I feel rage or despair, I go for the likes of Killing Joke, Ministry, Corrosion of Conformity etc.

For the more wistful, melancholic moments, the likes of This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance do the trick.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:17 pm 

you're spot on with that actually. when i'm angry or frustrated, it's METAL OF DEATH, if i'm feeling chilled/happy its misfits. definitely think our mindset influences our tastes, in the immediate to short term.

as an aside, if anyone is feeling overwhelmed, anxious or upset, stick on "Alberto Balsam" by Aphex Twin. definitely not even close to metal (obv) but six minutes of the most beautiful, comfortable, life-affirming music you'll ever hear.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:55 pm 

One of my favourite Aphex tracks ever!


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