Jane Leavy's article on heavy metal {Style, June 4} did reveal heavy metal's morbid side. However, the overall tone seemed to be one of: "Let's not take this too seriously."

This is a problem that should be taken seriously. Children and teen-agers who immerse themselves in the music of bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Anvil Bitch, Slayer, Die Kreuzen, Megadeth, Deathrash, Cryptic Slaughter, Overkill and Dave Benser's own Violent Speed Death are drenched in themes of suicide, death, murder, violence and the occult.

Suicidal Tendencies sings: "I'll kill myself, I'd rather die/ If you could see in the future/ You'd know why" and "Sick of life -- it sucks/ Sick and tired -- and no one cares/ Sick of myself -- don't wanna live/ Sick of living -- I'm gonna die."

Slayer sings: "Strangulation, mutilation, cancer of the brain/ Limb dissection, amputation, from a mind deranged."

Megadeth sings: "Their bodies convulse, in agony and pain/ I mangle their faces, till no features remain/ A blade for the butchering, I cut them to shreds/ First take out the organs, then cut off the head."

This is no laughing matter. These songs represent an adolescent's view of the world -- a world that is filled with violence and destruction. This is not an accurate reflection of our society, nor does it serve as a catharsis for teen-age emotion and frustration. It is simply not appropriate material for children or teen-agers.

Hannelore Wass, editor and founder of Death Studies from the University of Florida, says: "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that violent themes on television and in lyrics of certain hard rock music, especially heavy metal and hard core punk, adversely affect young people. Adolescents who are already troubled, who have difficulties with parents, and who don't have firm foundations in their value systems, will be reinforced in their depression by this material. It might even tip the scales."

Trish Heimers, spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America, guesses that only "5 percent of all teen-agers in the United States are heavy metal fans." Not true. This week's Billboard Magazine pop charts shows that five of the Top Ten pop albums are from heavy metal artists.

A mother, after dropping her child off at a Slayer concert, remarked: "These kids are preoccupied with death. . . . The bands articulate their unconscious fears. The nation needs to ask why our youth is preoccupied with death."

My question remains: Why are we preoccupied with packaging death as entertainment and selling it to our children? -- Sally Nevius The writer is president of the Parents' Resource Music Center.