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Aphrodite's Child - 666 CD (album) cover

666

Aphrodite's Child

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 444 ratings

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Igor91
4 stars As an avid listener and collector of music, I had come across Aphrodite's Child's 666 on YouTube several years ago and gave it a quick, fast-forwarding, listen and remembered being unimpressed. Then, about a year ago I was out of my hometown and decided to explore some record shops in the city I was visiting. I found 666 while browsing through the used CD section of one of these record stores. I was very surprised to see a copy, especially here in the States. Priced at a mere six bucks, I figured that it would, at the very least, make an interesting addition to my music collection, so I bought it. It was then that I was able to give the album a proper "deep listen" and give it a second chance.

Two words can sum up this work by this band from Greece: "eclectic" and "ambitious." The band employs everything from rock, jazz rock/fusion, pop, psychedelic, Middle Eastern/Raga, to Greek folk music and more to present the concept of the album: The Apocalypse. Spread over 2 CD's (or 4 sides of vinyl), and recorded in 1971, it predates other, better known double concept albums such as Genesis' Lamb Lays Down on Broadway. I won't go into detailed descriptions of each track here, there are many other good reviews here on PA that I would only end up repeating.

What I do want to address is, "does the music really work as an album?" My answer to this would be yes ? and no. The majority of the music is well written and performed, and the production is very good for that period as well. The vast territory of music covered often reveals weaknesses in bands' skills, but here everything is executed very well. Many of the songs are very interesting and enjoyable, and are woven together to create quite an epic piece of progressive rock.

So, what then, is the problem? The first issue I have with 666 is that it does seem to have a bit of filler, in my opinion. On disc one, in particular, there are several short tracks that go nowhere and really don't add anything to the concept, nor the music as a whole. An example of one of the worst filler tracks, though comes from disc 2. This controversial track, its title being the mathematical symbol for "infinity,' consists of a woman, chanting something (I can't make it out), over percussion, in a manner like she is either having an orgasm or in pain ? or both. And to top it off this track goes on for over five minutes! I think when the band, or Vangelis Papathanassiou to be more precise, finished writing the music, they/he found that they only had about three sides of vinyl worth of music. In order to fix this, several short filler tracks were added to complete the double album. That is only my guess, of course. Either way, 666 contains both good and excellent music, but only about enough to fill three-fourths of a double album.

Another issue I have with the third, and final, album from Aphrodite's Child, is how the mood of the album shifts. Parts of the album are upbeat, almost happy sounding, others are somber and serious. Then there are Zappa-esque moments of humor in others. So, are we to take this journey as a serious, religious/societal/cultural statement, or just a lark ? or both? And lastly, the longest song "All The Seats Were Occupied," is a well-conceived conglomerate of previous songs wedged into parts of a new theme. Overall, I like it, but in some parts it just comes off as awkward.

So, you may be wondering, based on the amount of negative points I bring up here, why there are four stars attached to this review. Well, that is because, despite all its flaws, I really like this album. When I finished giving 666 my first deep listen, I told myself that this was a solid 3 star effort. It just didn't seem to gel all together due to these flaws. The thing is, that each additional time that I have listened to this album, I like it even more. So, while I think this LP is better than "good," but not quite "excellent," my actual rating is a 3.5 stars. I tend to have a soft spot for obscure, weird pieces of music that do not get the recognition they deserve, so I usually round up my .5 ratings. Definitely not background music, I recommend giving this one several attentive listens before making a judgement of your own.

Igor91 | 4/5 |

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