Music provokes deep reactions: From joy to despair, catharsis to comfort, and anger to numbness, it is rare to find someone who is not moved by music. Metal is thought to be one of the most emotionally involved genres, evoking the full emotional spectrum, as well promoting emotional catharsis (the release of repressed emotions).

However, we feel the majority of academic and scientific insight into the emotional makeup of metalheads – vis-à-vis depression, anger, suicide and other metalhead stereotypes – has been limited in its perspective and selective in its sampling of this genre—solely referencing “Angel Of Death” and “Paranoid” does not cover even a slice of what metal has to offer, and our aim is to blow the doors down scientifically in this area of research.

PureGrainAudio is delighted to be teaming up with Musical Universe, in association with Cambridge University, to bring you a massive metal survey. With this survey, we will be asking for your emotional responses to 33 musical excerpts that represent over 15 subgenres of Metal. [1] The information gained will be analyzed by psychologists at Cambridge and hopefully be published in a scientific journal – as well as an article to be published on PureGrainAudio.

Of most interest to you, after completing the survey you will receive instantly your personality (extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and conscientiousness), musical engagement (intellectual, emotional, physical, narrative, and social), and well-being scores. If you wish to go into further detail about your relationship with metal – or the specific subgenres we cover in the survey – then send an email to with the subject “Survey Response”. All information will remain anonymous. However, if you email us then we reserve the right to contact you for any follow-up questions which may arise from your comments.

What initially started out as a conversation about the catharsis of listening to this genre has snowballed into a far bigger and impactful project. We look forward to your participation in it, and if you have any questions, send us an email at surveymetal [at] gmail [dot] com with “General Query” in the subject field.

The survey can be found right here!

01. While we would love to have broken them down further into the difference between technical progressive post-metalcore and blackened progressive post-metalcore, realistically we had to stop somewhere.