Ride the Science: Ex-Physicist Breaks Down Most ‘Metal’ Words

August 3rd, 2016: As seen on SONGLYRICS (PDF)

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett in 1984; Photo: Pete Cronin/Redferns

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett in 1984; Photo: Pete Cronin/Redferns


An ex-physicist who pens a blog called ‘Degenerate State‘ with the sole byline of ‘Lain’, took it upon himself to define the most ‘metal’ words in existence.

Based on a study Lain did back in March called “Heavy Metal and Natural Language Processing – Part 1” — his work is just gaining traction now — the ‘metal’ theme may bit more arbitrary than headlines are suggesting, as the core of Lain’s study is based on a fascination with “natural language,” Lain writing, “Natural language is made up of sequences of discrete characters arranged into hierarchical groupings: words, sentences and documents, each with both syntactic structure and semantic meaning.”

Lain goes on to explain in the introduction of the study that, in an effort to understand ‘natural language’, he decided to try out a few techniques on a dataset [he] scraped from the internet: a set of heavy metal lyrics (and associated genres),” making sure to denote that ‘metal’ is used in a subjective way.

Metal nerd or not, things get super classic word nerdy pretty quick from there, Lain laying everything out as an an ex-phycisist would, in fine detail, noting all the different ways ‘natural language’ — ‘latent semantic analysis‘, anyone? — is defined and how he scraped all lyrics form darklyrics.com into a “dataset containing lyrics to 222,623 songs from 7,364 bands spread over 22,314 albums.”

To understand the thoroughness of Lain, the dude created an equation to scour bands’ lyrics, from the iconic (Motorhead, Pig Destroyer) to the obscure (Inquisicion, Fleshwrought) to define the arbitrary measure of “Metalness,” guys:

You can go deep down the rabbit hole on Lain’s post, but long story short, so go some of the most metal words, as defined by Lain: ‘Burn’, ‘cries’, ‘veins’, ‘eternity’ and ‘breathe’. Whereas the least metal words revealed themselves as multi-syllable entries like ‘particularly’, ‘indicated’ and ‘secretary’.

May you ride the science lightening ‘burn’ into ‘eternity’, dear Lain, master of metal lyrics.