Max Roach, one of the greatest drummers of all time was well known for his taste and chops. But he was also known for pushing social messages with his music. This video of the song "Driva Man" from 1964 by the Max Roach 5tet along with singer Abbey Lincoln is an amazing example of how you make an incredibly heavy song through the use of instrumental dynamics (especially on the cymbals around the 5:40 mark) consistent driving rhythm and socially-conscious lyrics.
Many of the rhythmic accents and impulses found their way from jazz and blues into mainstream rock but perhaps more so in hardcore and metal. Odd time signatures started popping up more consistently in the early 90s as bands tried harder and harder to push the envelope. One example of this evolution is this video of The Dillinger Escape Plan's Billy Rymer playing through "When I lost my bet". The cymbal dynamics change both the feel and the sound of the song and factor into how the song is so damn heavy.
More of the Max Roach performance is on Youtube for your viewing pleasure.