Arsonists As The World Burns

Known for their hyperkinetic and inventive live shows and a series of sharp 12-inches, the Arsonists have built up a strong reputation within underground circles. On their first album, Jise One, Swel Boogie, Q-Unique, Freestyle and D-Stroy rarely let up in bringing their ferocious rhyme styles to the proceedings. The group’s taut chemistry results in an approach that admirably favours the collective over the individual, but at times also frustrates attempts to identify the MCs. Minor gripes however are compensated by novel creativity and concepts. “Pyromaniax” rocks a circus flavour reputedly derived from the video game Tomba, Freestyle’s solo “Underground Vandal” manages to shout out a who’s who of underground hip-hop in just over two minutes. And “Rhyme Time Travel” features Q-Unique visiting 1979, 1988 and 1999 flexing the dominant rhyme styles of each period. On the tracks that are comparitively traditional, the crew elevate the occasionally pedestrian beats with ardent performances on “Worlds Collide,” “Blaze” and “In Your Town.” Definitely not for those who like to be spoon-fed, the Arsonists do provide a taste that is definitely worth acquiring. (Matador)