Heavy Metal is said to have its roots stretch as far back as the 1960s, with the famed British Invasion helping to pave the way for first-wave bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Now, the genre is as instantly recognisable as it is diverse in its many subgenres, allowing it to set a distinct tone and mood for all who listen.
Many write that Heavy Metal elicits either joy or derision from those who put on a track or go see a band, with those who like Heavy Metal, unsurprisingly, feeling joy at such events. Yet, when it’s used well beyond the stage, it can work to create a mood that allows even those who don’t care for the genre to enjoy the experience.
Eliciting the right mood with a Heavy Metal soundtrack
With everyone being played as equals without any music preference, Heavy Metal can easily be put down as inducing anxiety and nervousness in a way that’s opposite to what classical music would be inferred as causing. Of course, as a soundtrack and with people not all working from a baseline of classical music being calming or enjoyable, this angle doesn’t always hold up particularly well.
Instead, for this kind of music psychology angle, it’s best to see how those who choose to experience the genre respond. Experiments cited by Loud Wire have found that even Death Metal makes fans happy rather than angry – which is commonly assumed – and that rock and Metal fans overall were the happiest of fans. Most who enjoy the genre will further detail a sense of joy, excitement, and even a self-esteem boost.
Being used as a soundtrack to other media can greatly help with these much more positive sensations created by Heavy Metal as complementary or even conflicting imagery and input can change how it’s received by the user. A prime example of this comes in the form of the 2016 remake of Doom.
A stellar, high-intensity shooter in its own right and a worthy successor to the original, one of the aspects that got the most praise was its Metal-driven soundtrack. On the big screen, movies like Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, Mission: Impossible 2, Resident Evil (the 2002 movie), and Iron Man have all been able to build up spectacle through the perfect deployment of Heavy Metal hits. So, there is a good standard set for Heavy Metal soundtracks.
Could Heavy Metal always work in a soundtrack?
In certain contexts, Heavy Metal could, in theory, be used in almost any soundtrack. As the genre is quite polarising in its on-stage form, it’s so distinct and powerful that it could be used in contrast to the assumed mood of the scene or product as a whole. This could be to show stark contrast or even add an element of comedy to the proceedings.
Take, for example, Fluffy Favourites. It’s a very popular slot game with 25 paylines, a 95.39 per cent RTP, and the reels are loaded with cuddly toys from the fun fair. The soundtrack-less game shouldn’t work with heavy metal, and yet, if those empty spaces when the reels spin were loaded with a monster riff, it could serve to amp up the excitement and certainly offer a chuckle from the spinner for the sheer craziness of the combination.
On the other hand, a Heavy Metal soundtrack has looked perfect for creations that, predominantly because of the age in which it was made, went for the more orchestrated approach. A grand example of this could be the Masters of the Universe. The 1980s animated series was, obviously, the best part of it all, and while its soundtrack is iconic, it could have been even better with Heavy Metal elements. Even the panned movie from 1987 could have been raised by the infusion of Heavy Metal to make it more exciting.
When used well, a Heavy Metal track or infusion of Heavy Metal elements into a score can raise the excitement and thrills of any entertainment piece.