Kids keep telling us that heavy metal is good for them. So why don’t we listen?

Heavy metal: it’s good for your kid. Photo by Flickr user rolle-.

Lately, there’s been a spate of commentaries on heavy-metal music, particularly from young fans who want to sing its praises. On this, my 200th post for Backward Messages, I wanted to share some of those perspectives. After all, it’s not like, in 2012, America is suddenly celebrating metal music as a teen passion.

The first comes from Ivan Maheca, writing for

It is time for people to see and appreciate the beauty of this music because it does have it. Metal musicians, according to people who have studied music appreciation and who know about music, have more talent and are capable of playing almost any other genre and style of music there is. Musically Metal has been underestimated as merely “noise” but in reality it is harmony and melody that simply defies the logic and laws of music, therefore under-seen as just noise by those who close their mind to a whole new world of expression.

When I researched my book, many of the kids and adults I talked to said one of the top misconceptions about metal is that it’s just noise, or that it takes zero skill to play. On the contrary, its virtuosity appeals to many young fans — and inspires some of them to take up instruments, and even form bands.

Another common misconception is that metal makes kids depressed or angry. Actually, many find that it brings them out of such moods, to a place of calm. It gives them what they need to feel like they can tackle the world again. Here’s Claire Martens, talking about how that happened for her:

I clung to music in my deepest moments. It was a constant in my life, something I depended on when nothing seemed certain or predictable. Even today, when I really don’t want to do something, I put on a good hard-kicking, air-punching album, very loudly, and allow it to invigorate me or cradle me, or be whatever it is I need it to be.

(Full disclosure: Claire links to Backward Messages in her post.)

Claire suggests that parents introduce young kids to metal, in order to broaden their budding musical palates: “Not only will your kids develop discerning musical tastes and an ear to make any music producer proud, but will live to be well-adjusted creatures.”


With so many articulate teens and former teens singing heavy metal’s praises, why don’t more people listen to them?


2 responses to “Kids keep telling us that heavy metal is good for them. So why don’t we listen?

  1. Both my kids (aged 3.5 and 1.5) love metal, the more pumping the better! If I feel low or wiped out, I stick on something amped and it makes me ready to face the world again. Metal is mind medicine.

  2. My opinion is that people are so closed mind, that when something diverges from their idea, that thing is evil. Especially when it’s about young people. When young people say that metal is good, people dismiss them because they are young (“you’re young, how much could you possbly know?”->they can know very much, for you information…)

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