Beginning Without End (Mastermind Music, 2001)
Survivalist is a raspy underground sing-jay with a cultural, rootsy bent who has been around for a few years but has yet to achieve the level of notoriety of similarly inclined artists like Buju Banton, Sizzla, Anthony B, Junior Kelly, Turbulence, and Norris Man. Beginning Without End, Survivalist's debut, is peppered with the type of flashes that have made him such a promising talent. "To Whom It May Concern" is a fierce opening, chanting down "to whom it may concern" in Babylon with a deceptively understated roots sound. "My God" explodes with hip-hop aggression as a testament to the strength of his faith. Meanwhile, "Calm after the Storm," "Meditate," "What Them a Try Prove," and particularly "Things on My Mind" are the kind of infectious old school dancehall sing-alongs that Shinehead used to perform in the '80s -- with a conscious, Rasta touch. However, generic dancehall cuts like "Break the Silence," "Rely on the Most I," "See Me Ya Now," and "Woman" keep this album from really taking off. In that way, Beginning Without End is a lot like Survivalist himself: frustratingly close to being great.