IT has come to pass that I have been asked to ponder the great philosophical question of our time.  Yes friends, I have been asked to consider what album out of all albums would I want to find myself able to play on a desert island.

I gave the matter great thought and by process of elimination arrived at the one true answer.

There are a number of criteria that this album must meet.

In general I enjoy a fair range of music.  A lot of folk, prog-rock, classical, and metal, among other things, so choosing one album should be very difficult.  I’m going to assume that, whether or not I have access to a guitar on this island, I do have access to my voice and am able to sing.  This means I can eliminate all albums that I can sing the songs to myself.  I know from past experience, from a time when someone broke into my house, and stole all my CDs, that I am perfectly capable of sitting down and singing all of the Pogues’ ‘Rum Sodomy and the Lash,’ the first handful of John Prine albums, a considerable number of Steeleye Span albums, virtually every Incredible String Band album, a surprising array of Jethro Tull, and yes, I can perform Jesus Christ Super Star from start to finish singing all the roles and mimicking the guitar. So that’s a good fistful of beloved albums I can manage without.

This means we need the album to be from a genre I can’t reasonably simulate simply by singing.

Since I assume I’m stranded on this island and can’t get off, there are a few important considerations.

One is comfort.  It must be an album that gives me a great sense of comfort when I listen to it. I’m bound to experience some fear and anxiety trapped here and I will need something to soothe me to the very depths of my soul.

The second is inspiration and drive.  Things are bound to get rather samey and dull trapped here on the island.  It must be an album that pumps me up and gives me reason to keep getting up every morning.  To go out there and live another day, catch another fish, put another message in a bottle!

It must provide intellectual stimulation.  As we settle into a lonely, deserted island life of talking only to myself and the spiders, I’m going to need something with enough going on that my brain has to work to keep up.

Since it will be my only album, it must be an album that is perfection from start to finish and never gets boring.  Something that I already know will never get old because I’ve been listening to it forever and it’s still just as fresh as the day I first heard it.

And so dear reader, taking all that into consideration, in the extremely unlikely event that I find myself on a deserted island with naught but one album to listen to, that album can only be: Onset of Putrefaction by Necrophagist.

Muhammed Suiçmez brutal growls are not only way out of my range, but so, so, comforting.  (Nothing is more comforting than the cookie monster voice.) As much as I love his growls, it is his guitar playing that will carry me through my time on this island.  Nothing brings a big goofy smile to my face quite like the ridiculous over the top guitar licks that simply litter every single Necrophagist song.  When I’m laying in the sand considering giving up, I’ll remember that the solo in ‘Advanced Corpse Tumour’ exists and I will once more be filled with the will to live.

Intellectually, my brain will be constantly engaged. There is so much going on on this album.  Every riff, lick, harmony, time, tempo shift, and poly rhythm will have my synapses firing to keep up. The way the twin guitars talk to each other in the left and right channels throughout the album, the starts and stops, the exits and entrances of the different instruments in different sections will give me a sense of sitting amongst friends.

There isn’t a moment on this album that isn’t perfection itself, and it never gets old.  From the opening barrage of ‘Foul Body Autopsy’ to the closing swells leading to the abrupt ending of ‘Fermented Offal Discharge,’ this album somehow manages to be equally bombastic and transcendent. I will forever remember weeping in the wings of Club Soda in Montreal where I saw them live for the first time.  I can listen to it to pump myself up to chop wood, I can listen to it sinking into the sand to watch the sunset at the end of the day.

It is the clear winner in this internal debate.

On the other hand, I am not sure if the fact that I’ve used the main riff of ‘Intestinal Incubation’ as my ring tone for years will be helpful or harmful for my mental state…but that is a question for another day.


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