Without dragging this thread too far in a tangent, my loathing of Albini is manifold and long.
I don't even think of him as particularly provocative, and certainly not USEFULLY provocative. Just...kind of an abrasive asshole with opinions.
For me, the breaking point (years and years ago) was reading his rather dramatically thorough denunciation of all music made with synthesizers and/or computers or whatever.
This coming from a guy whose first (punk) band had a drum machine!
WTF guy? Have you no self-awareness?
My complaint is also aesthetic. I don't care how much of a saint he is in providing affordable recording services for every indie band under the sun, he makes everyone sound the same. PJ Harvey's worst record sonically was the one he produced. It made her sound like every other band he produces.
He is the exact opposite of a 'best producer,' (i.e., Rick Rubin), in that he reduces every band's sound to his trademark sound. Someone like Rubin amplifies and fine tunes the artist's sound; his fingerprint is invisible. Albini's is all over the record.
I can't stand it, both as sound in the first place, and secondly, that I hear it again and again and again. Even if I liked that sound, I'd be tired of it. But I don't even like it. Snares sound like garbage to me; not like real drums. Like some imagined idealization of what a rock snare should sound like.
I don't know how the guy ever got elevated to the position of demigod he apparently occupies. He's crap, and his bands aren't that interesting. I never cared for Big Black. A punk band with no swing?