No group on either side of the Atlantic has pushed the limits of pop music farther than the UK trio Massive Attack. This talented collective of artists has effortlessly channeled the disparate ghosts of Augustus Pablo, acid house, Soul II Soul and Spacemen 3 for nearly fifteen years. 100th Window finds the trio whittled down to founding member Robert "3D" Naja, but no less powerful than they were on 1998's seminal classic, Mezzanine.

Familiar elements of Massive Attack will sate longtime aficionados——crackly hip-hop beats and thick dub basslines, wispy female vocals courtesy of Sinead O' Connor, as well as longtime collaborator and reggae legend Horace Andy. Neophytes will be drawn in by Naja's intense and paranoid lyrics about humanity's countdown to extinction. Fans of Naja's spacey, psychedelic prose may be shocked by his gritty candor, but as on "Special Cases," where O'Connor sings, "Take a look around the world/you see such mad things happening/there are few good men/ask yourself is he one of them," you can almost feel the flames of the fire that is about to engulf the human race forever.

Never content to be the aural equivalent of wallpaper like most of today's so-called chillout music, Massive Attack circa 2003 dishes out high quality head nodding beats with a sharp stinger of cynicism. 100th Window may injure but its darkness is masked in a haunting beauty that will prevent nausea. Seek out this disk at all costs.

Grade: A