24. Rage Against the Machine, 'Rage Against the Machine' (1992)
Nobody was quite ready for Rage Against the Machine when they exploded onto the rock scene in 1992 with their self-titled debut, least of all their record company. "I believe it was Nirvana that convinced record companies for the first time in their history to just leave the artist alone," Tom Morello told Rolling Stone in 2012. "I'll tell you, they sure as hell didn't understand Rage Against the Machine, but they knew that if they got out of the way, it was going to be best for everybody." By getting out of the way and letting Rage fuse hip-hop with metal and punk, they unleashed a volatile force that produced instant classics like "Killing in the Name," "Bullet in the Head," "Bombtrack" and the almost Sabbath-y "Freedom," tracks that still sound stunningly powerful and potent all these years later. "I had been in a lot of bands before Rage Against the Machine, bands that had tried hard to make it, and with that band, with Rage, it just spontaneously combusted," Morello said. "It immediately connected with something in the reptilian brain of fans of rock, hip-hop, punk, metal, activists in a way that was global right off the bat." A.G.