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When the Doom Music Kicks In refers to a series of memes set to "The Only Thing They Fear Is You" and other progressive metal songs by composer Mick Gordon from the soundtracks of the 2020 video game Doom Eternal and the 2016 video game Doom. The memes combine scenes of intense, sometimes humorous, fights with the music, imagining that its energetic nature invokes desire to inflict violence.
While memes based on the progressive metal soundtrack of the 2016 first-person shooter Doom were posted before, it was not until the release of its 2020 sequel Doom Eternal that they were popularized online.
On April 11th, 2018, YouTube user System Error posted a video titled "When the DOOM soundtrack kicks in," a gameplay video set to "BFG Division" from the Doom (2016) soundtrack with memes mixed in that received over 2.3 million views in two years. This is the earliest known example of the title "When the Doom Soundtrack Kicks In" being used.
On March 20th, 2020, Doom Eternal was released featuring a soundtrack by Mick Gordon, which included tracks such as "The Only Thing They Fear Is You," "BFG Division 2020" and "Slayer Gate." On May 29th, 2020, YouTube user the_kovic uploaded the full soundtrack to YouTube where it gained over 3.2 million views.
On May 6th, 2020, YouTube user SOBEK posted a meme in which they combined "The Only Thing They Fear Is You" from the Doom Eternal soundtrack with a scene from the episode "The Gang Gets New Wheels" of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in which characters Mac and Charlie beat up a group of children. The video received over 7 million views in one year (shown below).
Despite the Doom and Doom Eternal soundtracks being used in multiple memes in 2020, the "When the Doom Music Kicks In" format did not see further use until December 2020 when it gained popularity alongside similar memes about Cyberpunk 2077's combat music.
On December 19th, 2020, YouTube user Consural posted a video titled "When the Cyberpunk 2077 combat music kicks in," which received over 743,200 views in four months. On December 21st, 2021, YouTube user Idol Majima posted a meme combining "The Only Thing They Fear Is You" with a school fight scene from episode "The D in Apartment 23" of Family Guy. The video received over 3.2 million views in four months (shown below, left). On December 22nd, 2020, YouTube user Indy Guest posted a Pickle Rick meme that received over 1.5 million views in three months (shown below, right).
In the following months, more viral examples of the meme were posted by YouTube users, ultimately resulting in the YouTube Recommendation Algorithm starting to recommend such videos to users in late March 2021.
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