Mezzanine - Massive Attack

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Mezzanine - Massive Attack

1 CD(s) - Electronic - Label: Virgin - Distributor: EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 20/04/1998 - 724384559922, 724384560324

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Review of "Mezzanine - Massive Attack"

published 02/09/2015 | SirJoseph
Member since : 08/03/2012
Reviews : 534
Members who trust : 83
About me :
Ciao... please bring back paid music reviews, I want to gush over the new London Grammar album :,(
Pro Original, Timeless, Vocalists, Melodies, Rhymes, Atmospheric
Cons Too Dark? Monotonous Del Naja?
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"Stimulants, Tranquillisers, Hallucinogens or a mix of all three?"


We've all heard at least one of the two singles released from this mammoth of an electronica album, whether you know it or not and yet Massive Attack still manages to hold a quiet reputation, at least amongst the radio flock of mouth breathers ;). The likes of track one has been harvested for many an advertisement, television drama or sporting montage, whereas track 3 has the most simplistic beat known to man and just has to be recognisable. Considering this was released by the Bristol trio in 1998 (It still staggers me to think how long this went under my radar) you'd think it would be fitting for the turn of the century in terms of music - but instead what was crafted was an originally atmospheric masterpiece the likes of which, I at least, had never heard before. A sound so fresh even 10 years later when I managed to sit down and listen to it. For me, this was the album I'd be playing on the bus journey home from work, during those dank and dark winter nights in December. It would be the album that cemented the band into the trip-hop genre, a theme the members weren't exactly too pleased about, but it being just a label, I'm sure they didn't care too much.
Angel & Risingson

Bass. Clicks and clacks, the odd heavy gauge string pluck, rumble and stomp. The first few elements of the albums introductory track Angel are sinister in nature and powerful vibes of dread and dismay despite the innocuous title. "You are my angel.. Come from way above, to bring me love." declares vocalist Horace Andy in his distinct, flowing, high-pitched vibrato voice. Then the percussion hits like a bus. Harder a second time, with added industrial barrel clashes and dirt spatter guitar chords riffing away in high gain agony. The 6 minute long song feels more like a drug addled haze, a psilocybin daydream in a room hot-boxed with a kilo of cannabis, slowly burning out at the break of dawn. If 'Angel' was the party, then Risingson is the morning after, a stroll back home with the mother of all hangovers and a smell of mary jane you wont shake until Christmas. A boggy bass churning out a funktastic line with frontman Robert Del Naja taking up the vocals in his monotonous, smoke harshened tone. Haunting voices wailing in the background with a scattered snare throughout and a deep chugging synth with wandering guitar notes make it just as trippy as the night before. "Automatic crystal remote control, they come to move your soul" - Nope, no idea either.
Boom Boom, Boo Cack! Boom Boom, Boo Cack!

The undisputed champion of simplicity, human biology inspired (heartbeat) and addictiveness. Teardrop boast one of the most famous melodies and drumming you could ever imagine. You may recall a certain music video - pretty sure it just had some cheesy CGI foetus jamming along to the track! (But you're more likely to have heard it on House with Hugh Laurie ) Some sweet ethnic strings and heavy, deep piano chords are an otherworldly delight. Elizabeth Fraser brings her brand of seductive, breathy vocals to the furore in style: "Love, love is a verb. Love is a doing word - Fearless on my breath." There's a strange, almost euphoric air about the tone of this one, like opening the curtains and being greeted with glorious sunshine over a sparkling sea, without the harsh glare. A shining beacon of light, relief from an otherwise pitch black record - worth checking out if you've never heard it - shame on you if that's the case. "You're stumbling in the dark." are the final oddly pronounced words. There have been several covers of the song too, the most prominent being by folk-rock songwriter Newton Faulkner.
Inertia Creeps, Exchange & Dissolved Girl

Inertia Creeps dabbles in delicate bells and tones initially, but swiftly turns into a snarling rave somewhere in Turkey. Distorted cultural horns blaring out, mixed with what sounds like a digital didgeridoo and several bongo-like percussion. The deliverance from Del Naja is the same as before, as if his eyes are bleary and half shut from staying up all night, desperately trying to get out of whatever situation he's writing about here. "I want to x you" are the words whispered. Exchange but a brief interlude spent chilling in the elevator as you're awaiting the next destination on the album, an off-beat instrumental full of demo influence and messing about. Arriving on the sixth floor was worth the wait. Dissolved Girl showcases yet another special guest appearance, this time by Sara Jay with an even more sultry sound, rife with animalistic magnetism. I recall Neo listening to this track in the first of The Matrix films... He may have been a pretty hollow character but he had good music taste at least. "Feels like something that I've done before. I could fake it but I still want more." amps up the sex as does an impromptu guitar heavy breakdown, chaotically mixed with more synth of blasting beats. Gruff instrumentals with silky smooth, feminine charms - "I need a little love to ease the pain."
The Man Next Door drinks Black Milk

It's about time Horace Andy returned for a second outing in Man Next Door. Such a strange vibe going on here: from the shaky cymbals and squirming keys acting as the spine of the song. Much more vocalisation from Andy means things are even more droll than first thought "There is a man that live next door in my neighbourhood and he gets me down." The rest of the lyrics make out as if there's some kind of domestic disturbance going on in the block of dingy flats they're living in. Still, with a couple of ladies showing up the guys for singing ability, it's nice to see that they've still a few tricks up their sleeves instead of over-relying on Del Naja's fast-paced poetry. Black Milk (Yuck!) sees the return of Elizabeth Fraser once more, in a much more toned down occasion that's soothed me to sleep on occasion. A Shamefully neglected track, all because Teardrop takes the cake. Music wise, it's almost sad hip-hop at snails pace tempo, only packed with a reservoir of brooding moods. The words are scarce and poetic, but the most ghostly echoed ones leave a lasting, dozy impression: "All's there to love - Only love." I always remember the icy slush near the curbs of the roads when this plays, because what was once arctic white is now fossil fuel black.
Mezzanine, Group Four & (Exchange)

The title track certainly sets the tone, as a bit of an evil mashup between the 2 previous Naja songs. Grant Marshall chimes in with a super deep "You know you've got that heart made of stone - You should have let me know." Think bustling bass and gentle but steady cymbal and you've got an idea of this one. That is, until the psychedelic interlude which sounds like they're about to shoot up or something. I liked Group Four from the off. It carried the same concept as a lot of the other black as night songs, only starred Fraser for the third and final time. "Closed eyed sky wide open. Unlimited girl unlimited sigh." - Junkie nonsense! I jest, I'm sure they don't partake in stimulants, tranquillisers, hallucinogens or a mix of all three. Pretty sure '3D' has a message to send with "I train myself in martial arts - As advertised. I reinforce my softened parts - As advertised" I'm just not sure what it is... Maybe a reference to masculinity in a state of crisis? All I know is, that ending bit is sweet. A long, built up section with trash can smashing and ringing notes to introduce the cleanest guitar tone they could manage, laying down standard chords in style. A heart pumping beat and bass as low as a druggies withdrawal symptoms. Such a shame they felt the need to include (Exchange) once more with a new batch of vocals. Kinda ruined the ambience they had going in favour of a lackadaisical joke.

Track List & Rating Out of 10
1. Angel - 10
2. Risingson - 8
3. Teardrop - 10
4. Inertia Creeps - 8
5. Exchange - 5
6. Dissolved Girl - 9
7. Man Next Door - 7
8. Black Milk - 8
9. Mezzanine - 7
10. Group Four - 8
11. (Exchange) - 3

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Comments on this review

  • Mauri published 07/09/2015
    Nice write up
  • cr01 published 06/09/2015
    Great write up
  • euphie published 04/09/2015
    e :o)
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Product Information : Mezzanine - Massive Attack

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Electronic - Label: Virgin - Distributor: EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 20/04/1998 - 724384559922, 724384560324

Product Details

EAN: 724384559922, 724384560324


Listed on Ciao since: 18/07/2011