Of the three Massive Attack albums from the 90s this is the one I’d rank as the classic, pushing in a more menacing direction than the more upbeat and relaxed Blue Lines  or Protection . Its strong throughout (Man Next Door, Group Four etc)
*… But Massive Attack were the origin point of the trip-hop movement they and their peers were striving to escape the orbit of, and they nearly tore themselves to shreds in the process. Instead— or maybe as a result—they laid down their going-nova genre’s definitive paranoia statement with Mezzanine.
…Originally set for a late ’97 release, Mezzanine got pushed back four months because Del Naja refused to stop reworking the tracks, tearing them apart and rebuilding them until they’re so polished they gleam. It sure sounds like the product of bloody-knuckled labor, all that empty-space reverb and melted-together multitrack vocals and oppressive low-end. (The first sound you hear on the album, that lead-jointed bassline on “Angel,” is to subwoofers what “Planet Earth” is to high-def television.) But it also groans with the burden of creative conflict, a working process that created rifts between Del Naja and Vowles, who left shortly after Mezzanine dropped following nearly 15 years of collaboration.*