Massive Attack
Mezzanine


5.0
classic

Review

by PinkRibbonScars USER (3 Reviews)
January 4th, 2011 | 18 replies | 5,764 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Less an album than it is a drug, in the best possible way.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Every so often, an album seems to come along that transcends the boundaries of genres, scenes, and subcultures, creating a shockwave that ripples throughout the entire world of pop culture. Some of these albums ---- such as Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and Queen’s A Night at the Opera --- are well known amongst music aficionados and casual listeners alike. But others meet with a more subtle reception, only gradually growing to claim their place in the canon of essential modern music. Massive Attack’s Mezzanine is just such an album, leaving behind the conventions of the late 90’s trip-hop scene that birthed the act and giving itself over to sweeping soundscapes and near-flawless songwriting.

Like the work of the Deftones, Massive Attack’s music is as much a matter of atmosphere as of raw musical prowess. The first track on Mezzanine, Angel, instantly calls up images of a decaying metropolis after nightfall, the vitality of the city reduced to an eerie urban pulse. As the song develops, it descends into a wall of industrial noise that recalls Nine Inch Nails at their most powerful, before fading back to lead into the opening beats of the next track. The flow of the album continues perfectly from there, as listeners are treated to the haunting and stark hip-hop rhymes of Risingson and the delicate soundscapes of Teardrop.

The third song on the album is nothing short of a work of art. Teardrop opens with a simple, ghostly heartbeat rhythm, with the instrumental melody gradually fading in to weave a blanket of sound for the listener’s ears. When the soft and unrelentingly pretty female vocals come in, the atmosphere almost becomes trance-like, lulling the listener out of reality and into the auditory equivalent of a dream. Like a blissful vision, the song is almost difficult to bring oneself out of.

The album continues with the unfettered excellence, returning to melody-less hip hop rhymes and beats for Inertia Creeps, toying further with ambient soundscapes in Exchange, and using more traditional song structures and another female lead vocal in another highlight, Dissolved Girl. By the album’s final few tracks, the listener is most likely completely under its spell, lost in the musical atmosphere and living in a sort of altered consciousness. Mezzanine does not need a genre, because it creates a world completely its own --- while lost in a song like Teardrop or Dissolved Girl, it’s easy to forget that any other music has ever been made.

And therein lies the key to the album’s importance. It is only rarely this easy to become so completely lost in an album --- the world Mezzanine creates is just as much a place as a soundtrack, and it isn’t a place that is easy to escape. Luckily, I don’t see why any listener would want to.


user ratings (1807)
Chart.
4.4
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other reviews of this album
Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 38)...

Adam Downer STAFF (3)
Mezzanine's got itself some fine moments, but a lack of variation and some uninspired vocal performa...

ocelot-05 (5)
...

OrbDragon (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
PinkRibbonScars
January 4th 2011



16 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My second review, so I'd love to hear comments, opinions, and such.

Foxhound
January 4th 2011



4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

heard this was really good

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2011



7244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I only got this recently, and haven't really gotten into it yet. I can tell it'll probably take quite a few listens though

jingledeath
January 4th 2011



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is now tied with Dummy as my favorite trip hop album

Blaizend
January 4th 2011



647 Comments


nah

Rev
January 4th 2011



9294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This, Dummy, and Endtroducing make up the trip-hop Triforce

Spec
January 4th 2011



26846 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album is incredible.

Blaizend
January 4th 2011



647 Comments


'your wrong blaize'

My wrong?

omnipanzer
January 4th 2011



21391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gotta disagree with you silent but really at this level we are talking about nuances and preferences here. There is a reason both albums are rated equally. I happen to be on the Portishead side of the fence both both albums are equally important.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2011



23667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this has been growing on me immensely since I first heard it and gave it a 3

certainly the best Trip-Hop I've heard (although Sarah Fimm is pretty awesome)

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Kaleid
January 4th 2011



709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice one

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2011



30309 Comments


This isn't an album that leaves behind the "conventions of trip hop", it's indebted to these "conventions" and it's a better album because of it

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

eternium
January 4th 2011



16212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of my favorite albums.

omnipanzer
January 5th 2011



21391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love Trip-hop and am not sure how it ever became shunned. In the late 90's early 00's it became a death nail be be associated with it. I honestly never got that and am some what offended by it. Any time a group went out of there way to say the where NOT trip-hop it really turned me off to them.

omnipanzer
January 5th 2011



21391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know you've always got my back silentpotato (on this issue anyway) ;^)

JSSwaffy
July 31st 2012



5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review

TheFonz123
July 31st 2012



2795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

trip hop is the shit and so is ska

TheFonz123
July 31st 2012



2795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and so is dubstep




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