The secret to relaxation: angry rock music


Image by Tommy Hammarsten from Pixabay.

Nothing is more cathartic than turning on loud music after a long and stressful day. I find that it’s pleasing to turn on some angry emo rock music to make my anger regarding classes, responsibilities, adulting, society and politics go away.

Even as I was writing these words I was listening to Green Day’s “¿Viva la Gloria?,” trying to ease my anger from writing another article. By the time the song was finished, I felt far better than I did before, and after a few more similar songs, I was once again calm.

Whether your auditory drug is metal, deathcore, emo, punk, angry rap, alternative metal, hard rock or good ol’ classic rock, “extreme” music has been shown to help dissipate anger.

A study conducted in 2015 by Leah Sharman and Genevieve Dingle charted the physiological and emotional effects of 39 experiment participants as they listened to “extreme” music after being exposed to an irritating and angering stimulus.

The outcome of the study revealed that “extreme” music helped people stabilize their heart rate after being elevated while being angry, relaxation also increased.

Some of the “extreme” songs that participants chose to listen to included:

It’s very satisfying to listen to Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha shout “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” 

There’s a flavor of “extreme” music for every type of anger, whether you’re upset with an ex or someone who’s mean, with our society or government representatives and structures or all of the above.


Escape the Fate, another popular artist the experiment participants listened to, released a single, “H8 My Self,” on Jan. 26. This single is the epitome of being angry at someone, as Craig Mabbitt sings, “All I really want to say is I hate you more than I hate myself (and that’s saying something).” The lyrics are vague enough to assign a personal face and name to the words, “If I was a hitman, I’d make you disappear,” and hopefully help fade that person out of your mind and emotions.

If that’s not enough, a hefty dose of My Chemical Romance should help. 

“I will avenge my ghost with every breath I take, I’m coming back from the dead. And I’ll take you home with me, I’m taking back the life you stole from me,” Gerard Way shouts during the bridge of “It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a (Fucking) Deathwish.”

MCR, the fathers of anger and emo, have multiple songs full of screaming hate and anger. Take your pick. Some of my favorites are “Kiss the Ring,” “Heaven Help Us” and “This Is How I Disappear.”


While some may consider Ronnie Radke’s latest songs to be more rap than rock, you can’t ignore his songs’ themes of media obsession and mental illness.

As fun as it is to find all the Star Wars references in Falling In Reverse’s Jan. 30 single, “Watch the World Burn,” it can also serve as an outlet to relieve anger toward our society. Don’t be afraid to rap, “One day you’re gonna figure out that everything they taught you was a lie, watch the world burn.”

To get more specific, Palaye Royale’sMassacre, the New American Dream” calls out our society for enabling mass shootings within our country.

“Generation Y, generation why are we? Why are we so casual ‘bout these casualties?” Remington Leith asks.

In 2022, there were a total of 647 mass shootings across the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archives. This is a statistic worthy of being angry about, however it could help knowing there is someone else out there that agrees and cares enough to write a song about it.


Gun control, a constantly debated topic, especially now, barely exists thanks to the 1968 Gun Control Act, which allows those who are 18 or over to buy rifles and ammunition, and those 21 or over to buy other types of firearms.

While there are some interest groups and politicians who are trying to encourage and implement legislation regarding requiring background checks to buy firearms or an overall ban on assault weapons, action may not be occurring quick enough. One artist, The Used, sees these inconsistencies and much more within our glorious government.

A Song to Stifle Imperial Progression (a work in progress)” provides a screaming intro to a description of the U.S. declaration of war on terror saying: “By declaring war on terror you declare war on yourself, we’re saying no way, no way U.S.A. The war on drugs and poverty are only tools for gaining wealth.”

The method in which the message is delivered can even negate the lyrics themselves, and simply provide a general outlet for anger.

Yelling at the country as a whole, not at a specific issue, is also cathartic. A chant from Descendents, in their song “‘Merican” utter, “You got to know the truth before you say you got the pride.” As long as you don’t mind being placed under the category of being a stupid American, this is a direct, punk-centric song that you can easily sing-along with.

Anger can be sparked by many things in this modern world of ours. Whether it’s “teen” angst still plaguing you or strong dislike or hatred for something or someone, it’s OK to be angry, and it’s OK to express it in a proper manner. You can translate anger into a creative project, write, draw or make music. Or better yet, listen to it.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].