When death metal first came about, people believed it would never make it into the mainstream “culture” of our trend-based, democratic society. It turned out that industry just made an emo/metal hybrid and called it “technical death metal” so that neckbeard fedora barista hipsters can now claim they, too, listen to “outlaw music.”
It turns out that one of the most successful fake metal bands, Opeth, has made inroads into mainstream culture, mainly because it is more hippie rock (Boomer-musik) than metal, so is socially acceptable while being “edgy.” Lee Holloway, a founder of Cloudflare, was a “death metal” fan:
In Cloudflare’s early years, Lee Holloway had been the resident genius, the guy who could focus for hours, code pouring from his fingertips while death metal blasted in his headphones. He was the master architect whose vision had guided what began as a literal sketch on a napkin into a tech giant with some 1,200 employees and 83,000 paying customers.
Oh, really? — one thinks. What fascinating death metal might he enjoy? Welp, it’s a hipster gig:
Lee and Kristin started spending time together. On one of their first dates, Lee took her to see his favorite metal band, the Swedish group Opeth. He revved up her interest in basketball, and they became Golden State Warriors junkies, watching every game. Kristin brought her own interests and energy into the relationship. She convinced him to trade in his old jeans-and-leather-jacket uniform for nicer shirts from Rag & Bone. He still wore beanies and hoodies, but now they came from Lululemon, where Kristin, a running freak, had a weekend gig as a brand ambassador.
Opeth shows us how metal fails: assimilation by rock and mainstream “culture,” which is to culture as Budweiser is to beer and George W. Bush is to conservatism, or maybe even democracy is to leadership.