My thing is distortion and saturation, I like trashing pretty much every track, some people (very likely Raphie!) may say my mixes are digital mush but I love it when you saturate everything until the mix kind of goes warm and squidgy! You can capture audio almost to perfection these days - but I think it just sounds sterile and soulless - to others that will be audiophile heaven. Even back in the day when I played live, it sounded better (to me) when the PA was flat out and clipping slightly, compressing everything slightly. Yeah - I like torturing waveforms - what’s your thing?
I seem to wander between the extremes you mentioned, I love pristine ambient stuff, (sound of a single water drop breaking the surface of a pool in a cave) and then I like hissing screaming punk raunch… So I do both and try to do most everything in between. Its all there for the making. Niches are for nerds! I used to run stuff through an old noisy analog board when mastering the noisier genres, for that warmth… I smoked a few speakers too in my day, turned one bass amp cabinet into a smouldering stinking ruin, it was fun, oh but it was a rental, so that was not so fun!