Heavy Metal encourages Teen Suicide?
May 6th 2009 Patrick Saad Miscellaneous What do you think?

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*Testimony given by Raymond Kuntze before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring, and the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., November 6, 1997.Raymond Kuntz’s teenage son committed suicide in 1996 while listening to a CD by the heavy metal group Marilyn Manson.

Raymond stated in a court of law: โ€œDear Sirs, my son was listening to Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar on his stereo when he diedโ€”I personally removed that CD with the red lightning bolt on it from his player the next dayโ€”with the rough draft of an English class paper about this artist that had been returned to him that very day for final revisions, on the stand next to his body. Richard’s friends tell us that in the end this song, “The Reflecting God,” from that CD was his favorite song. They say that this song was what he always seemed to be listening to whenever they came over, and the lyrics of that song read as an unequivocally direct inducement to take one’s own life. Gentlemen, we are all certainly free to make our own decisions regarding the value of content. But if you were to ask me, I would say that the lyrics to this song contributed directly to my son’s death. Sirs, this music, because it glorifies intolerance and hate, and promotes suicide, contradicts all of the community values that people of good will, regardless of faith, ideology, race, economic or social position, share. From what my family has experienced, this music is a cancer on our society. I have given you my ideas of what we can do to solve this problem and stress that we must act as a people to protect our children from the twin evils of murder and suicide. If there is anything you can do about this problem, my wife, Christine and I are ready to help you in any way that we can.โ€


*Even in a nation where 12 schoolchildren a day are killed by guns, the death of 15 year-old Elyse Pahler stood out from the welter of cold statistics.
That was five years ago in San Luis Obispo and now her killers are serving sentences of 25 years to life. They were problem kids who devoted most of their leisure time to marijuana, methamphetamine and LSD, but they had something else swirling around in their heads. This was death-metal music, and specifically the records made by Slayer, the veteran pioneers of thrash from Huntington Beach, California.

While there are those who regard these words as a vehicle for no more genuine menace than a Robbie Williams video, 53-year-old David Pahler and his wife Lisanne, 43, are not among them. They believe that Slayer’s paens to serial killers and necrophilia contributed to their daughter’s death and are suing the band and the companies that have distributed their music.
“This case isn’t about art,” says David Pahler. “It’s about marketing. Slayer and others in the industry have developed sophisticated strategies to sell death metal music to adolescent boys. They don’t care whether the violent, misogynistic message in these lyrics causes children to do harmful things. They couldn’t care less what their fans did to our daughter. All they care about is money.”
“The distribution and marketing of this obscene and harmful material to adolescent males constituted aiding and abetting of the criminal acts described in this complaint,” says the lawsuit. “None of the vicious crimes committed against Elyse Marie Pahler would have occurred without the intentional marketing strategy of the death-metal band Slayer.”

For their part, Slayer are not talking about the case. Paul Bostaph, the drummer at the time, said: “They’re trying to blame the whole thing on us. That’s such nonsense. If you’re gonna do something stupid like that, you should get in trouble for it.” He supported Slayer’s case by observing that the killers had not done their homework properly: they had failed to follow the rituals of necrophilia sacrifice set out in the songs.
Attorneys for the band and the music companies – including Def Jam Music, Columbia Records, Sony Music Entertainment and American Recordings – say that Slayer’s work is ring-fenced by the right to free speech enshrined in the constitution.
“We’re part-evil,” says Slayer singer Tom Araya. “If we were really evil, we would be doing everything we’re writing about.”

Naturally, this distinction does not impress David Pahler. “What are we talking about here? We have children ending their lives because the lyrics say they’re worthless. It’s about money. That’s the driving force. I can’t imagine the adults in the band, in the distribution end, really think this so-called music or the lyrics are good.” His wife Lisanne says: “They have families of their own. Where’s their conscience?”
“They’re the nicest people,” says Chris Ferrara, their long-serving publicist. “It’s a matter of opinion how you take in the music, but I think it’s fiction, period. They’re nice, conservative people, believe it or not.”


*Birmingham hard rockers Judas Priest, whose releases include the album Killing Machine, were sued over a 1985 suicide pact made by two Nevada schoolboys.
One survived, and the other boy’s parents charged that a 1978 album contained hidden messages. The words “Do it” allegedly can be heard when the record is played backwards, and the letters S U I (for “suicide”) are in the sleeve artwork. The case was dismissed after evidence that the boys had grown up in “violent and depressed” surroundings.

Psychological point of view:

“Although the suicide rate is higher among rock and heavy metal fans (particularly the latter), a study of students with psychiatric disorders who were also heavy metal fans actually showed improved mood after listening to their music of choice. Other studies of depressed students have found similar results, suggesting that students may use this music to help treat their depression rather than becoming depressed as a result of listening to it.”
“Interestingly, college students whose musical preferences are alternative, rock or heavy metal actually obtain higher IQ test scores on average, particularly on questions where abstraction is required. Some studies have also found high intelligence among adolescent heavy metal listeners.”

In my opinion, Metal music is a form of stress relief, a musical way of expressing one’s self. Anger and other feelings are indeed present, but they do not harm anyone; they are in fact personal feelings: most metal listeners are actually quite intellectual people who are into philosophy, psychology and many other art forms. The present stereotype of metalheads being drop-outs, narrow minded and violent people is no longer valid. Smart listeners are aware of the lyrics they are exposed to, and even in that case, they know that it’s not necessary to abide by the goal and meaning of these lyrics. In the end, we should be open minded as modern human beings, to be able to accept other point of views, including the artists themselves, and chose whether to agree with these views or not. Liking the actual music is not a crime!

Music does not kill people, people kill people.

Sources: Greenhaven Press, 2000 and www.thefreeradical.ca

Please Comment Your Own Opinion.

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  • kito

    Music does not kill people, people kill people. hahahaha hayde ahammaaa ….. gd one pat ๐Ÿ˜€ ta3a nrou7 nente7er ๐Ÿ˜›

  • elie ma7fouz

    well i actually think those who commit suicide are weak.
    their death is not due to the music they listen to, it is due to their surroundings . weak human beings commit suicide after being opressed by parents, neighbours, friends, skool and family, and not by listening to violent music. they are mostly troubled and have psychological problems. Why isnt it stated that some men die after watching a movie ?

  • Maurice

    People with closed minds like that “Raymond Kuntze” zabre want a reason to hide their failure in life so instead of admitting that his bad parenting was the reason of his pathetic son’s suicide or his lack of money he had to blame it on the music…
    Metal music does not encourage people to commit actions, its the actions taken by people that makes them listen to Metal music… If some assholes can’t tolerate it no one is forcing them to like it, they can just change the music style, cut the drama and respect others taste.

  • Nareg Khorozian

    this person’s IQ is beyond doubt a peanut because if Metal music was a reason for children commiting suicide then I and everymetalhead should have been dead ages ago ..

  • wellllll this is bullshit ! people get confused abt lotta of things especially abt metal music ! well fuck them who need them who get to know metal music will really change his mind abt his effects ! people educate yourself ! y don’t they see people and kids who goes into trance events well if sex is allowed and exstacy or weed is allowed then let them say what they want abt metal ! keep on rocking and headbanging metal heads ๐Ÿ˜€ \m/

  • Jad Jawhari

    haha those americans are funny, they want to blame suicide on music very logical , a person took his life because he was listening to MM this is very illogical , i guess this article isnt about metal and suicide its about american stupidity and if this music is killing them. lets hope they will keep on listening to it lol.

  • Jad Jawhari

    its also funny how humanitarian americans become fucking hypocrites

  • Jerome

    Music causing death is their new direction since “violent videogame causing deaths” didn’t work out.

  • Rishar

    Well haven’t finished reading the article (will do later). But their unbaisedness goes out the with:
    “But if you were to ask me, I would say that the lyrics to this song contributed directly to my sonโ€™s death.”

    They seemingly forget that the majority of Death Metal isn’t marketed but rather legal or illegal downloaded.

    And of the music that is purchased if all rules and regulations were well and truely put into force (speaking outside of Lebanon) then these “kids” will be unable to obtain albums by these so called suicide provoking artist, because they are R-rated (or 18+) music and then by that age are considered under the law legal tender.

    But this is of no matter because (speaking in USA) what they say in the songs are protected under the 1 st Amendment and probably protected by the equivilent in other democratic nations. This is to say that this music is just as protected as the stuff you see on MTV (not that there is much music on it anymore).

    Just as another thought a genre of music such a psy-trance is dominated, lyricaly, with LSD and other psycho-active drugs and yet I have still not heard of a case been taken against such an artist.

  • Rishar

    forgive any mistakes in my reply (it is pretty late at the moment)

  • Patrick

    Indeed, you can never blame music in such subjects.
    Aside from music, politics causes many deaths … lots of deaths… I’d like to see politicians in trial for that ?! …
    The lyrics in metal music have always shown superior thinking in comparison to other types of music; compared to pop, hip-hop, country and many other music genres whose lyrical themes always revolve on FEW STANDARD-like subjects, metal covers more abstract concepts: philosophical (life/death…), psychological/social (anger,fear,disappointment,traditions,open-minded ideas…) and life inspired issues (politics, violence/wars, corruption…)
    Therefore everyone can turn to metal to help ease their moods; all one has to do is choose a certain subgenre according to their current mood and he/she shall find solace in the music.

  • Light_Bringer

    โ€œNone of the vicious crimes committed against Elyse Marie Pahler would have occurred without the intentional marketing strategy of the death-metal band Slayer.โ€
    first of all since when are slayer a death metal band?!

    and second.. if a murderer or a person that comitted suicide turned out to be a metalhead, all the eyes focus on that and consider it as the reason, the cause behind such acts.
    i think its absurd. if a murderer turned out to be a metal fan or whatever it doesnt mean that the millions of metalheads worldwide are.
    these are just lame stereotypes that arent based on any logical fact or proof.

  • jaybodom

    I have to agree with Bigsam … People should be more strict in Trance event than in metal music … cuz I guess weed and exstacy is a way of killing yourself … and this guy Kuntze is full of shit ๐Ÿ™‚ … he should get brainwashed if u ask me ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Ralph Moussa

    PATS thumbs up its one hell of the problems facing the international metal scene ( in leb and everywhere) anwz any song expressing anger ; social stress ; rootine ;and how much life is UNFAIR sometimes is strengh itself cz its not running away from the problem its facing the problem in a song ( not just metal songs )so if the environment of an indvidual person was beyond his power of resistance he is goin to get suicide cz he can be listening to any genre of music talking about anger ; stress …etc not just metal but he couldnt get to a salvation from the songs to relief his anger so he runs away by committing suicide (opposing to metal’s real purpose which is facing the problem ) ;);) …

  • bongo

    actually… if music does not kill people…why you`re listening for it??

  • Patrick

    I personally listen to it because i like the sound of it ๐Ÿ˜› That’s the most basic and primitive answer i could find for your question Bongo …

  • Woodz

    i like this article a lot . shows how far back musically people can be . correct me if i’m wrong but if you go to a metal concert in lebanon all you find is a bit of alcohool , and the maximum is weed . when there was a tiesto concert in edde sands (jbeil) they kept finding needles in the sand for the next week . although some metal songs influence a lot of evil , doesn’t mean that it’s their fault that people act the way they do . i quote ma7fouz “weak human beings commit” and i also add that troubled minds commit murder . it’s not a matter of what genre of music you listen to . everyone accuses something else . people accuse metal music of being a source of evil and death . others blame video games like jerome said . others blame movies . its the same thing as blaming Porn for a divorce . people tend to avoid the fact that they made other peoples’ lives worse . they avoid mistreatment or their own violence . everyone needs a bad guy to point their fingers at .
    very nice article patrick . cheerz m8 .

  • Levi

    People who kill someone or commits suicide already had problems before they did something metal or rock was just their choice of music I LOVE METAL and im still alive and not in prison for murder

  • metalhead

    No no .you are all wrong. If you listen something a hundred times and its starting to mix up your mind…all shit that people do start in the head…its not problem in the music…is the darkness. The devil himself…you listen to it and you are becoming pissed off and eventually u explode. Yes i blame their lyrucs nevause satan use them as toys…thry wont do it …but he will trougj their fan…fuck people never heard of demonic possesion and excorcism? Start to believe…if u dont have that exp. Of course u eill find no proof. I hope i did explain a lot of this to all of ypu hete and yes im a musician as well…you cant write about destruction but why devil? Fuck him? Its shit to write about how to rape a corpse…its sick its brutal its dark snd yea it affects you…like it or not..