50. Slipknot, 'Iowa' (2001)
After Slipknot's self-titled debut catapulted the mask-wearing, percussion-heavy nonet from Midwest obscurity to stardom, the band nearly imploded in a maelstrom of self-destructive indulgence. Instead of the cathartic release of the first album, singer Corey Taylor told Revolver, "Doing Iowa, I wasn't letting anything go. It was just rage for the sake of rage. ... Luckily, we got a dark, brutal, amazing album out of it." For all its aural intensity – the breathlessly chugging guitars, the roiling swirls of snare and tom-tom, Taylor's throat-rending vocals – what stands out about isn't the emotional negativity but the perversely hook-heavy writing. Sometimes the two are wrapped together, like on the misanthropic chant-along "People = Shit"; sometimes they're in opposition, as when sweetly melodic vocals float through the chorus of "My Plague." It's as if the band wanted a way to make its pain palatable – even addictive. J.D.C.