I’ve known for a while that the way I relate to music is different than it is for some other people. I knew this well before I realized that I was neurospicy — and sometimes had it shoved in my face by allistic co-workers.
Still, it took me a while to really put together that my tendency to require certain types of music for certain types of work and thinking was a function of my neurotype, and not an individual quirk.
It’s not difficult to find music recommendations for neurodivergent folx — at least, if you are fond of electronic music. Lots of layers, complexity, and polyrhythms abound. Aphex Twin’s "On" and Underworld’s "Rez/Cowgirl" are two of my go-tos that really exemplify what I mean (and highlight my age).
But when I’m looking to reset my nervous system, techno isn’t always sufficient. For that, I turn to metal.
Despite its reputation, there’s quite a bit of research showing that fans of the genre "typically derive a range of emotional and social benefits from listening to heavy metal music, including improved mood, identity formation, and peer affiliation," and that for fans, "listening to extreme music may represent a healthy way of processing anger." (Those who were not fans already of metal had the opposite reaction.)
Your mileage — as the research above notes — will vary based on your own preferences. I tend to like a lot of the same things in metal that I also like in techno — driving rhythms, deep bass, and building to a crescendo (or, as the kids call it, a "drop").
That caveat out of the way, here’s some of the bands — and tracks — that are on my "reset" playlist for when I’m riding the edge of dysregulation. Whether through a soaring riff or a complex wall of sound threatening to dissolve into static, these help me beat my brain back into shape when it’s not behaving.
Your experience — and suggestions and recommendations — are welcome!
Waking Dream — Unleash The Archers
Dana Dan — Bloodywood
Zero Signal — Fear Factory
Guardians of Earth — Sepultura
Deceiver, Deceiver — Arch Enemy
Le Manu — Shepherd’s Reign
Kai Tangata — Alien Weaponry
Sól — vvilderness
Generation — Liturgy