It was 1984 when the most METAL band of all time (Manowar, obviously) delivered the loudest documented show ever played. Clocking in at a max of 129.5 decibels — the sonic equivalent of a jackhammer — the show's most brutal moment, as the legend goes, came during the playing of the 1983 semi-hit "Gloves of Metal," at the exact point where Eric Adams is all, like, "The sound of METAL so loud it cracks the beams/Played by warriors called the METAL KINGS." (On a side note, that part about the legend was made up by me just now and may or may not have happened. But it would have been pretty glorious if it did.)
What is not made up by me, however, is science. And according to science, about 50 percent of the people at that show who did not pass out due to the awe-inspiring degree of METAL most likely went home and did heroin. Confirmed: Sex, drugs and rock and roll is now science.
Spurred, no doubt, by science's proud tradition of finding out things everybody already knew, a group of researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, published a study last week indicating that it might be advisable for Curtis to turn down that junk after all: Of the 944 teenagers observed in the study, the 33 percent or so who spent more than an hour a day listening to loud music ("loud" being defined as exceeding 89 decibels — about the volume of a lawnmower) were found to be twice as likely as those who did not to engage in "risky" behaviors such as smoking marijuana, binge drinking and making sweet love without a condom. The researchers also note that listening to music at high volume levels is itself an established risky behavior, as it can lead to hearing loss.
Erasmus University Medical Center
"We know that high-risk behaviors certainly run together, so in some ways it's not a big surprise," Dr. Sharon Levy, head of the Adolescent Substance Abuse program at Boston Children's Hospital, told Reuters. Thanks, Sharon, but let's go ahead and make that in all ways that it's not a big surprise, since non-scientists have long held that any dude named Todd blasting Judas Priest from a Firebird with a sweet hood decal is 86 percent likely to be on his way to the Highway Inn Motor Court at this very moment to do blow off the tits of three strippers.
Understandably, though, Levy has some qualms about the study. For one thing, science can't currently say if it's the loud music that is causing the behavior or the other way around. And for another, it doesn't say what type of music, exactly, the participants were listening to. "Is what they're hearing changing their behavior?" Levy wondered. "That becomes important for parents."
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Gentlemen, I don't claim to be a scientist, but I think I can field this one: I'm guessing the type of kid inclined to smoke weed and bone without condoms is also the type of kid that gives not even a single fuck about the vague possibility of hearing loss in the future. In which case, who cares what type of music? But just for the sake of science, I'm going to say it's probably METAL.