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Aphrodite's Child - 666 CD (album) cover

666

Aphrodite's Child

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 277 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pnoom!
3 stars This album is classified as symphonic progressive rock on this site, but I'm not sure that's entirely accurate. Nothing here sounds like Genesis, Yes, Camel, Harmonium, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Focus, or any other symphonic progressive rock band I know. These guys are truly unique, truly "progressive," and that trait cannot be valued too highly. The band's previous two albums are supposedly pop rock, but you have no need to fear here. This is full blown progressive rock. It took me a long, long time to understand it and appreciate it, but my patience was well rewarded, as I uncovered a true progressive gem with Aphrodite's Child - 666.

This is a highly ambitious album, and was one of the very first concept albums (though it wasn't released until 1972, it was written and recorded in 1970). As far as the concept goes, this album is rock solid. The basic premise is that of a bunch of people attending a recreation of the book of Revelations, which tells of the apocalypse. What they don't know, however, is that the true apocalypse approaches outside. Thus, when the apocalypse strikes, "all the seats were occupied." When the lyrics get set to paper, the concept gets obscured somewhat (let's face it, these guys weren't great lyricists), but if you approach it with the concept implanted in your mind, you shouldn't mind too much.

Aphrodite's Child might not have had a great lyricist, but boy, oh boy, did they have some great composers. The music on here is absolutely top notch. It ranges from everything to actual symphonic progressive rock to spoken word to straight rock to a bunch of other styles, all with a Greek tinge to it that makes it absolutely irresistible. In my mind, it is this Greek influence that truly makes this album as great as it is, always present and always a challenge for the non-Greek listener. And, of course, for the Greek listeners, there is a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in it. In short, this one influence on the album manages to make it appeal to all parties.

At this point, as is my general rule with rock operas (which this certainly is), I will describe a few tracks that will give you a feel for the album as a whole. Babylon is essentially straight rock (though with the aforementioned Greek touch), and serves as the introduction of the presentation to the fictional crowd watching. The band really peak, however, with The Four Horseman, an amazing song with heavenly vocals and, at least in the musical department, a great chorus (this coming from someone who hates choruses). All the Seats Were Occupied is the final highlight, a nineteen-minute experience combining elements of all the rest of the album into one stunning climax. All the seats are occupied as the apocalypse approaches, both within the play and out.

Infinity is the one lowlight of this album, a five-minute track (originally thirty-nine minutes) that serves as the band's interpretation of the presence of prostitutes in the book of revelations. In essence, it is a woman having an orgasm, and even within the course of the album, it sounds pompous and uninteresting. They tried to be original, and they succeeded at that, but what they failed to think of was how it would make the album sound. It may strike some as interesting, but this is the ONLY time that I actually am glad the music industry limited a band's creativity.

Aphrodite's Child may not be progressive rock icons, but they released one wonderful album with 666, and I strongly recommend that fans of inventive and different music find the time to add this to their collection. It's not one of the greatest albums in my collection, and I don't listen to it very often, but every time I do, I am forced to feel respect and awe for this Greek band's effort. Definitely worth owning, and recommended to all.

Pnoom! | 3/5 |

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