I must say that although I'm not very much into the combination of rap and metal, I must say I recognize so much potential with Rage Against The Machine, (so much raw energy that I havent seen in a long time. I really admire the fact that Tom Morello relies on his intuitive knowledge instead of catering to whats considered acceptable. Its too bad they lost Zach while they're in their prime as a group, although his words can be rather annoying at times, I really can't picture this band without him, without that raw conviction...
But throughput the 90's, I must say that the "Alternative" band that influenced me the most would have to be NIRVANA.
In the early 90's alot of the rock music had become rather tame and predictable, Nirvana came along at a time when musicians believed that everything had to be done a certain way in order to suceed. Nirvana broke the rules and inspired millions of bands to use their instincts, and to work their creativity for all its worth. I think alot of people really appreciated their honest approach to music, where their primary intenbtion was what they felt best constituted a good song. i think its safe to say that every serious musician really gets off on playing a few NBirvana songs every now and then, just to get their mojo going. :)
"Swoop and soar like the blues angels."