Cover Versions: The 10 best Massive Attack sleeves

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First published when the limited edition of 3D and the art of Massive Attack was released and now refreshed to mark the 300+ page hardback edition, we’ve collected Robert Del Naja’s 10 best Massive Attack sleeve designs.

In the twenty-five plus years since Massive Attack released their Smith & Mighty produced debut single ‘Any Love’, vocalist and artist Robert Del Naja aka 3D has come to define the Bristol band’s singular aesthetic, working with photographers (like Nick Knight on Mezzanine) and designers (like Tom Hingston on Heligoland) to create some of the most iconic record sleeves of the modern era.

Naturally then, it was always going to be difficult to pick a top 10, especially when so many of the major album covers were followed (or preceded) by a ream of EP variations. With that in mind, we’ve dodged to the left of Massive Attack’s most definitive (and well-known) sleeves – the 1991 debut LP Blue Lines, their 1998 masterpiece Mezzanine and most recent album Heligoland (2010) – all of which are represented by artwork from their EP’s and singles.

The list draws on sleeves for every major album release from Blues Lines to Heligoland, as well as the collaboration with Burial for the 2011 single “Four Walls / Paradise Circus”, showing the evolution of a visual style that has gone step for step with Massive Attack’s rise to one of the most influential acts in UK music history.


massive attack_unfinished sympathy

“Unfinished Sympathy”
From Blue Lines
Wild Bunch Records, (Feb 1991)


massive attack_safe from harm

“Safe From Harm”
From Blue Lines
Wild Bunch Records, (May 1991)


massive-attack-ep

“Massive Attack E.P.”
From Blue Lines
Wild Bunch Records, (Feb 1992)


sly_massive attack copy

“Sly”
From Protection
Wild Bunch Records, (Oct, 1994)


karmacoma_massive attack

“Karmacoma” 7″
From Protection
Wild Bunch Records, (May, 1995)


Risingson_massive attack

“Risingson”
From Mezzanine
Circa, (Jul, 1997)


massive attack teardrop

“Tear Drop”
From Mezzanine
Circa, (Apr, 1998)


100th window_massive ttack

100th Window
Virgin, (2003)


Splitting_The_Atom_EP_Massive_Attack

“Splitting The Atom E.P.”
From Heligoland
Virgin, (2009)


BURIAL-x-MASSIVE-ATTACK

Massive Attack vs. Burial
“Four Walls” / “Paradise Circus”
Inhale Gold / The Vinyl Factory, (2011)


3D and the art of Massive Attack is available now from The Vinyl Factory online shop.

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