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Go to the Massive Attack website  Massive Attack - 100th Window [Virgin Records - 2003]

Four years ago Massive Attack released Mezzanine, a masterpiece of trip-hop music. The band was standing at the peak in their career and Mezzanine was, and still is, a huge success.

The band might not know it, but besides being a huge inspiration for electronic / trip-hop artists they also inspired a lot of musicians in the Norwegian metal scene. Bands, who all of a sudden, started to experiment with electronic / trip-hop sounds in their music. On a holiday to Norway I met some of these musicians and it's funny how they all listened to Mezzanine at that time, which might be some of the inspiration that started the 'weirding' of the Norwegian metal scene.

So Massive Attack finally got their act together and recorded a new album. Or maybe not finally, because 100th Window is the end result of a second recording session. The first session resulted in 80 new songs, but all of them are unreleased because the band thought they weren't good enough. I guess it's hard to top an album such as Mezzanine. You know everyone will compare the new album with it, so the pressure must've been extremely hard.

On first listen 100th Window didn't really get to me. I know you have to listen to an album a couple of times before you 'get' it, but usually there is a first impression and 100th Window didn't impress me much. The music is a direct continuation of the Mezzanine sound, minus the rock sections. I kinda miss those, because they were welcome additions to the overall sound. Besides, 100% mid tempo trip-hop for 60 minutes can get a little boring at times and those rock parts gave the album some diversity.

After a couple of listens I started to like some of the songs, but most of it is still lacking something. But that's not all, the songs on 100th Window just don't impress me much. I can't really put my finger on it, but it could be the songwriting or how some of the songs just go on for 7 minutes without a direction. The guestvocals this time are pretty good. Sinead O' Conner is a great follow-up to Elizbeth Fraser. I'm not a huge Sinead fan, but her voice really fits the Massive Attack sound.

Overall I have mixed feelings about this album. The production is perfect, some of the songs are pretty good, but on it's whole the album just doesn't move me enough. I guess devoted Massive Attack fans will have no problems with 100th Window, but for casual listeners I suggest you first listen to it before buying.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Niels van Rongen
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