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Death Angel Music Used in Psychological Study

Nuclear Blast

Thrash legends Death Angel may make music to drown out the voice of your nagging parent, but that’s not all. Their music was recently used in a psychological study that shows that music both liked and disliked by subjects is equally disruptive to serial recall. One of the study’s administrators, the U.K.-based Dr. Nick Perham, is a long time Death Angel fan and he used their song ‘Thrashers’ to test his hypothesis.

“We needed a track that most participants would say they did not like,” Perham said. “Having been a fan of metal music since my teens, I was pretty confident that a thrash metal song would do the trick, as most people never seemed to like the music I liked. In choosing a thrash metal song, I needed a song that was heavy but also allowed the listener to hear many of the different components of the song. We chose ‘Thrashers.’”

Participants were only allowed to participate in the study if they disliked thrash metal as a musical genre. Really? How do you not like thrash? This must have been an uncool sample of the population for Perham to study.

A summary of the research: Listening to music has proven to alleviate anxiety and depression, enhance mood and to increase cognitive functioning such as spatial awareness. However, until now, research has not addressed how we listen to music. For instance, is the cognitive benefit still the same if we listen to music whilst performing a task, rather than before it? Further, how does our preference for a particular type of music affect performance? A new study from Applied Cognitive Psychology shows that listening to music that one likes whilst performing a serial recall task does not help performance any more than listening to music one does not enjoy.

Liked music such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga, and disliked music, such as ‘Thrashers’ by Death Angel, was played to test recall ability, which was approximately the same.

Although music can have a very positive effect on our general mental health, music can, in the circumstances described, also have negative effects on cognitive performance. Perham remarked, “Most people listen to music at the same time as, rather than prior to, performing a task. But to reduce the negative effects of background music when recalling information in order, one should either perform the task in quiet or only listen to music prior to performing the task.”

Death Angel’s guitarist/vocalist Rob Castevany weighed in on the experiment, telling Noisecreep, “The professor is a metal fan from his teens and is a Death Angel fan. The nature of the test was to see if people were distracted by music when trying to learn a series of eight consonants and numbers in an order. … He picked ‘Thrashers’ off our debut album since it had acoustical variations within one song; a lot of parts. A lot of different breaks and time signature and parts changing, which is more distracting.”

Castevany, the sole constant member of Death Angel, was not insulted in the slightest that his band’s music was selected as being not easy to like. In fact, he was thrilled. He said, “I love it. It’s cool. It’s rebellious, extreme, attacking, aggressive. I love the fact that they did that. It was amazing to me. The results of the study overall proved it didn’t make a difference if they liked the music or not; they were equally distracted by music.”

Castevany continued, “It would be weird if it was used to relax people. Then I would be like, ‘What the hell?’ I am tickled pink about it. I do find the results interesting, as it makes you think. If you listen to music you like, you are focusing on it, so it takes your attention away from the task at hand. “

Death Angel’s new album, ‘Relentless Retribution,’ is due out Sept. 14 via Nuclear Blast.

‘Relentless Retribution’ track list
1. ‘Relentless Revolution’
2. ‘Claws in so Deep’
3. ‘Truce’
4. ‘Into the Arms of Righteous Anger’
5. ‘River of Rapture’
6. ‘Absence of Light’
7. ‘This Hate’
8. ‘Death of the Meek’
9. ‘Opponents at Sides’
10. ‘I Chose the Sky’
11. ‘Volcanic’
12. ‘Where They Lay’

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