In the early '80s, speed metal became the most popular form of heavy metal in the American underground. Crossing the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with hardcore punk, speed metal was extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding -- the bands played fast, but their attack was precise and clean. In that sense, speed metal always remained true to its metal roots. But what it borrowed from hardcore -- namely, insanely fast tempos and a defiant, do-it-yourself attitude -- was equally important, since it gave the bands not only a unique musical approach but also an attractive image for legions of alienated suburban youths. Because it was so intense and technically demanding, speed metal quickly evolved into thrash, which allowed greater leeway in terms of tempo, groove, and instrumental dexterity. Led by Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer this new wave of metal bands stood in direct contrast with the pop-oriented metal that dominated the charts during the '80s, but they managed to cultivate dedicated cult followings that would eventually allow them to go platinum with no support from mainstream media, radio, or MTV.