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Aphrodite's Child - End Of The World CD (album) cover

END OF THE WORLD

Aphrodite's Child

 

Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 90 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Although APHRODITE'S CHILD is destined to go down in history for their classic double album "666" which chronicled passages of the Bible's Book Of Revelations in progressive and psychedelic rock musical form, their fascination with the apocalypse actually took root on their 1968 debut album END OF THE WORLD. While their first two albums are eclipsed by their third and their psychedelic pop years of the 60s have become mere faint backdrops in the midst of the stunning overpowering success of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and other powerhouses of the day, this Greek quartet turned trio that consisted of Vangelis Papathanassiou (keyboards), Demis Roussos (bass guitar and vocals), Loukas Sideras (drums and vocals), and Silver Koulouris (guitar) were quite successful in Europe right from the start with this debut selling quite well and scoring the hit single "Rain And Tears" which hit #1 in Italy and #2 in the Netherlands which sold over a million copies, however history has tended to forget about the earliest stages of Vangelis and company.

The story of APRODITE'S CHILD started in 1967 with Vangelis and Roussos having met after playing in their own respective bands that achieved some local success. Vangelis in Formynx and Roussos in Idols. Shortly thereafter they met guitarist Silver Koularis and drummer / keyboardist Loukas Sideras. Unfortunately just as the band had formed, Greece was rocked by the upset of a right-wing dictatorship commonly known as the Regime Of The Colonels which lasted from 1967-74 which is why Greece did not participate in the burgeoning prog scene as did most of the European continent. Vangelis, the de facto leader from the beginning, decided to relocate his newly formed band in London where they could carry on without the burdens of political turmoil but en route found themselves stuck in Paris during the 1968 strikes and student uprisings which delayed their musical ambitions for a short time. Another hurdle resulted when Koularis was forced to remain in Greece to complete his military service leaving the newly formed APHRODITE'S CHILD a mere trio. Koularis would not take part in the band until 1972's "666."

Undeterred the band found no problem attracting attention with their strong catchy compositions that took the pop hook sensibilities of The Beatles and married them with the trippy psychedelic organ ambience of The Moody Blues and Procol Harum with a Middle Eastern percussive backing that resulted from Roussos' earlier years having been spent in Egypt before his Greek family immigrated to the homeland. The result of this debut END OF THE WORLD is an interesting mix of UK inspired pop rock married with traditional Greek ballads, Middle Eastern bellydance and English psychedelia making the music of APHRODITE'S CHILD sound like no one else of the era. The title track opens which sets the overall vibe of the entire album with an almost James Bond 007 theme song type of feel with over the top pop vocals dressed up with a somewhat cheesy symphonic backdrop but the track morphs into powerhouse of classical piano prowess, percussive outbursts and dramatic dynamics shifting. It also is irresistibly catchy as Vangelis proved to be one of the great song writers of all of Europe.

"Don't Try To Catch A River" sounds more like a rock opera with Roussos delivering an almost Jesus Christ Superstar vocal performance with a catchy heavy rock beat flavored with a 60s psychedelic pop haze and nice backing vocals that are just as strong all the while utilizing the tribal percussive beats of Roussos' Middle Eastern roots. "Mister Thomas" was clearly inspired by the Beatles "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" with its circus like quirkiness and lyrical similarities. The big hit was "Rain And Tears" which was a major success in Europe and is a baroque pop tune that is a reworking of the German composer Johann Pachelbel's "Pachelbel's Canon." "The Grass Is Green" and "Day Of The Fool" are probably the most interesting tracks as they step out of the 60s mindset and display a much grander vision that is unfolding in their musical development that wouldn't come to fruition until "666" five years later. These tracks fit into the overall psychedelic pop scheme of things but have more sounds effects and progressive developments.

Personally i was quite surprised how much i liked this debut album as i was only expecting some generic 60s pop album that was a carbon clone of the British scene but that couldn't be farther from the reality. Even at these nascent stages of their career, Vangelis and Roussos were quite accomplished musicians and songwriters as END OF THE WORLD exhibits all the reasons why both artists would carry on to have immensely successful solo careers. While not as progressively accomplished as "666," END OF THE WORLD nevertheless exhibits the birth pangs of what would be expanded to become that album. This is a brilliant example of 60s psychedelic pop and for anyone interested in that scene should by no means miss out on this one. Roussos has a unique vocal style that gives a flair of exoticness as his Greek accent and Mediterranean influences clearly separate the band from the British scene all the while encompassing the best aspects of it. While the slower tracks may prove a little cheesy for the casual listener, the orchestrations of the compositions are fairly sophisticated for the average pop band drawing the obvious comparisons to The Moody Blues and Procol Harum. On the contrary to the title of the album, this was really just the beginning of APHRODITE'S CHILD and an excellent debut at that.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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