When the loudness war kicks in, there are some CD that I don't listen to, but it seems that either I listen to music relatively unaffected, either I am not too much annoyed by the lack of dynamics.
Recently, only three bands have managed to turn me off their music with loudness war : Qntal (on the III and IV albums), Hocico, and Within Temptation.
It's with mentionning that for the first and the last, live DVD sound much better than studio albums (though, technically, the peak/RMS ratio is not higher).
Qntal have switched from unlistenable noise to extremely compressed, nearly percussion-free, but clean mixes (V and VI), but I won't by the two other band's next CD.
I have been quite surprised to hear Sharon, from Within Temptation, say that she was extremely careful with the sound of the band's productions, while the album The Heart of Everything is nearly unlistenable, and on the wonderful Black Symphony DVD, recorded live with full orchestra and choir, it is nearly impossible to hear the orchestra or the choir behind the guitars.
I have no problem at all with my other favorite bands : Trobar de Morte, Corde Oblique, Faun, Artrosis, Closterkeller... all make decently sounding recordings. Some of the band that I listen to have weak dynamics, but it doesn't sound so bad : Elane, The Moon and the Nightspirit, Artesia...
I have noticed that CD that sound the most clipressed are not always the ones that are the most compressed according to the replaygain estimation of loudness. For example, Indochine - L'aventurier, from the unita compilation, is very compressed, but strangely, it sounds very dynamic. The comparison of the polish and english mixes of Closterkeller - Nero album is also interesting. The 2004 english remix have been very compressed and is much louder than the original polish mix of 2003, however, contrary to what we could expect, the 2004 compressed version sounds more lively than the 2003 dynamic one, which sounds boring.
These are exceptions to the rule, but I find them very interesting in order to understand what compression really is. It can't be dissociated from the mix. It is often the other way, but sometimes, there can be good compressed mixes, and bad dynamics mixes.
Also, some music needs dynamics, while other needs flatness. Artesia is a good example of band whose music have to be mastered without dynamics, because this is the way it must be played. It has a musical purpose. They create beauty from uniformity.