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666

Aphrodite's Child

Symphonic Prog


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Aphrodite's Child 666 album cover
3.89 | 268 ratings | 45 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc one: (36:45)
1. The system (0:23)
2. Babylon (2:51)
3. Loud, loud, loud (2:37)
4. The four horsemen (5:57)
5. The lamb (4:34)
6. The seventh seal (1:30)
7. Aegian sea (5:25)
8. Seven bowls (1:25)
9. The wakening beast (1:07)
10. Lament (2:55)
11. The marching beast (2:00)
12. The battle of the locusts (0:56)
13. Do it (1:45)
14. Tribulation (0:32)
15. The beast (2:33)
16. Ofis (0:17)

Disc two: (41:43)
1. Seven trumpets (0:30)
2. Altamont (4:45)
3. The wedding of the lamb (3:35)
4. The capture of the beast (2:15)
5. "∞" (Infinity) (5:16)
6. Hic et nunc (3:00)
7. All the seats were occupied (19:27)
8. Break (2:55)

Total Time: 78:28

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris / guitars, percussion
- Evengelio Odyssey Papathanassiou (VANGELIS) / keyboards, flute, percussion, vibes, backing vocals
- Artemios Ventouris Roussos (Demis Roussos) / bass, lead & backing vocals
- Lucas Sideras / drums, lead & backing vocals

Guest musicians:
- Harris Chalkitis / bass, tenor saxophone, congas, backing vocals
- Irene Papas / vocals (2:5)
- Michel Ripoche / trombone, tenor saxophone (1:2 & 2:6)
- Yannis Tsarouchis / Greek text
- John Forst / narration

Releases information

Germany (West) Vertigo 838 430-2 / Japan Vertigo PPD-3039~40 / Japan Vertigo PHCR-16105~6 / Japan Vertigo UICY-9373/4 / United States One Way OW 31375

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to progshine for the last updates
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666: Apocalypse of St John666: Apocalypse of St John
Import
Vertigo 1989
Audio CD$8.47
$9.99 (used)
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Import
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End Of The World LP (Vinyl Album) European Missing Vinyl 2012End Of The World LP (Vinyl Album) European Missing Vinyl 2012
Missing Vinyl
Vinyl$39.99
SinglesSingles
Extra tracks · Import
Br Music Holland 2003
Audio CD$9.78
$10.00 (used)
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Import
Missing Vinyl 2012
Vinyl$45.00
666666
Import
Imports 2011
Audio CD$29.77
$27.00 (used)
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APHRODITE'S CHILD 666 ratings distribution


3.89
(268 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
41%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

APHRODITE'S CHILD 666 reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars If the name VANGELIS makes you run like hell, the thought of sickeningly sweet New Age, "Chariots of Fire" (a song I hated from my childhood), you might be surprised to find out he wasn't always like that! Take for example, APHRODITE'S CHILD, a rock band he was in from the late '60s to early '70s. The band resided in France, often the reason for being unable to return to Greece was the Paris student riots, but what was often forgotten was Greece was under a military dictatorship at the time, meaning rock music was likely frowned upon by the government. Another famous figure in this band was Demis ROUSSOS, another guy who'll probably have you running fast in the other directions. In the late '60s, these guys released two psychedelic pop albums, "Rain and Tears" and "It's Five O'Clock". It's not too far off comparing them to GENESIS' "From Genesis to Revelation".

The band knew right away that they were heading towards a dead-end playing that kind of music, so they made their followup, "666" a drastic improvement over their previous albums. And succeed they did! No more overly-sentimental ballads (the title track to "It's Five O'Clock"), no more stupid songs like "Such a Funny Night". This album was recorded in 1970, but the folks at Mercury seems to not like the content of the album (the label felt that because of some of the content, it wouldn't sell). But since Mercury did have a more progressive label subdivision called Vertigo, it ended up being released there, but not until 1972. If you want to talk about a drastic improvement, think of the drastic difference between "From Genesis to Revelation" and "Foxtrot", and that's what you get with "It's Five O'Clock" and "666".

Yes, the lyrics are based on the bible, especially the New Testament and the end of the world, but never are the lyrics preachy, or even quoted from the bible itself. What you get is top quality prog rock with some Greek ethnic influences. "Loud, Loud, Loud", is basically a piano-oriented piece, with narration from a 12 year old son of a Greek diplomat (hence his peculiar accent). "Seven Bowls" and "The Lamb" might sound a bit familiar to those who have heard ENIGMA's "MCMXC a.D." mainly because Michael Cretu sampled those songs for "The Voice & the Snake" and "The Rivers of Belief". The album also contains a bunch of experimental pieces that hardly qualify as music, in between actual songs like "The Beast".

The second disc, I though was more interesting, where the Greek influences are even more obvious. The one "song" that really upsetted Mercury Records and made them reluctant to release it was this piece I can't type, mainly because it uses an "Infinity symbol", which you can't type on the keyboard. Here's the piece where Greek actress Irene Papas (who was quite a bit older than the rest of the band) under a psychedelic orgasm. This is definately a really disturbing piece that obviously caused the record company discomfort (same for the average record listener). Perhaps the best of the bunch is the lengthy "All the Seats Were Occupied". A lengthy jam with excerpts from the rest of the album. After all the noise and racket, the album closes with the peaceful "Break", it's like a really welcoming piece after all that you had to hear. Incredible album, despite the musicians involved.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#31534) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This represents Vangelis first foray into the world of prog rock and although here he is part of a band including Demis Rousos and other Greek chums, the music is clearly the inspiration and brainchild of Vangelis.It's dark,funny,weird,amazing and baffling in equal measure.It took the rest of the prgoworld at least 3 years to catch up.(ie 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' is comparable).I wish I could award more than 5 stars!

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Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Progressive Rock fans usually are unfair with talented musicians as Demis Roussos and Evangelos Odysseus Papathanassiou (Vangelis), is true that Demis solo career is mostly based in soft pop but people forget he was a very talented bassist with a great vocal range and Vangelis is remembered for his New Age boring albums or commercial soundtracks instead of progressive masterpieces as "Heaven & Hell" or even his albums with Jon Anderson, which are not among my favorites but must recognize as quality music.

It's also a important to remember APHRODITE'S CHILD was not only formed by the mentioned musicians because Anargyros (Silver) Koulouris who had returned from his military Service to record this album is a very good guitar player and Lucas Sideras is a very capable drummer, this two members had a direct participation in the album

Because of the complexity of 666 they recruited also a good number of Greek artists to complement the band as the multi talented and brilliant actress Irene Papas, Harris Chalkitis and Michel Ripoche for the winds, a great lyricist, movie director, book author and member of the European Film Academy Costas Ferris to take care of the lyrics and even the well known artist Yannis Tsarouchis for the Greek text. In other words, the album was carefully planned.

The concept of the album is about the most complex and controversial Book of the Bible, "Saint John's Book of Revelations" also known as "The Apocalypse", a really hard task even today, but harder in 1970 when there was very little experience with conceptual albums, it's important to notice that 666 is considered the first properly concept album, because before it were only released some rock operas which are part of a different sub-genre.

When 666 was recorded the problems inside the band were leading to the inevitable split, mostly because Roussos and Sideras wanted to continue doing commercial music as in their previous albums and Vangelis was decided to take a more complex path, so 666 was really their last attempt to maintain the classic formation of the band allowing Vangelis to compose a real progressive and complex album, but it was too late for the band, and 666 was their last album, an excellent way to close the short story of APHRODITE'S CHILD.

It's hard to describe the music because there's not other band that had a similar sound or style, the Greek influence is also different than the usual, don't expect something catchy or folksy as Zorba the Greek, because the band uses darker religious music over a 100% Symphonic structure with touches of Psychedelia, it's important to remember that Greece is the country where the Orthodox Catholic Church is based, and this influence helps to create a Biblical and mysterious atmosphere.

The greatest achievement of the band is the way they blend this liturgical music with more western influences like pop and of course symphonic prog. But they do something even more adventurous, they include some tracks that sound like prayers by monks, with traces of Gregorian Chants and even complex sounds, they were ahead of their time in many aspects.

It's hard to describe the tracks searching for a favorite or high point, because the album is very faithful to "The Book of Revelations" and any attempt of separating a song takes it from it's natural context and breaks the atmosphere so carefully created by APHRODITE'S CHILD.

For example the track Infinity (sign that can't be reproduced with a PC keyboard) outside of the album means nothing except a woman having an orgasm, but in the context of the album makes sense because the Book of Revelation makes various references to the prostitute that tempted the kings. It may be a good interpretation by Irene Papas but don't place out loud in the CD player of your car unless you have the windows closed because it may be embarrassing.

Disk 1 has many important songs after the weird "The System" which sounds as a strange prayer.

"Babylon" is a rock song with an outstanding guitar work, even though is a studio track, the band created the sound of a crowd to symbolize multitudes on the biblical capital of the world, very good song even if not progressive.

"Loud, Loud, Loud" is a narration of a paragraph of the Bible surrounded by a beautiful piano, for this song the band used the voice of the son of a Greek Diplomat, very atmospheric track.

"The Four Horsemen" is a terrifying song that starts with a scary narration in the form of a sung prayer, talks about the moment The Lamb (Christ) opens the seals to free the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, followed by the band leaded by Lucas Sideras and his accurate drums, really scares me very much.

"The Lamb" is an instrumental with a very Greek sound; the entire band is perfect and well supported by a chorus that adds some dramatics. Almost in the same vein but softer and darker comes "The Seventh Seal" which announces more terrible moments for humanity, the phrase "And when the Lamb opened the Seventh Seal, Silence above the Skies" resumes the terrible message.

"Aegian Seal" has an introduction that you could expect from any Vangelis later album but followed by explosions of music and narrations.

The rest of the first CD is full of laments, tribulations and Greek style music blended perfectly with progressive rock, maybe except for "The Beast" which I supposed would be the darker song but paradoxically is the only poppy track of the album with a guitar that reminds of Clapton's slow hand.

Disk 2 is even better than the first one (if this is possible) "Seven Trumpets" is a 30 seconds track that literally announces the next song "Altamont" which is very atmospheric and elaborate and shows the great skills of Vangelis as keyboardist, who without the wonderful excesses of Wakeman or Emerson does a very precise work, the background voice is very disturbing and scary, as anyone could expect from an album that describes the end of the world.

"The Wedding of the Lamb" is a strange song that mixes Gregorian Chants with Greek Liturgical music, supported by percussion, other typical Greek instruments and the whole band, confusing but very good track. The next song "The Capture of the Beast" is a track based in percussion and chain sounds with some typical Vangelis keyboard interruptions.

Talked already about "Infinity" so I won't do it again. "Hic et Nunc" (Here and Now) is a jazzy tune that works as a relief in preparation for the most important song of the album which is "All the Seats Were Occupied", a 19:19 minutes epic that mixes all the influences, sounds and songs of the album in a single track all surrounded by a mystical atmosphere, extremely beautiful and very complex represents Progressive Rock best face.

The album ends with the only ballad named Break, which sounds to me as a Roussos contribution, not a filler, but not necessary either, because IMHO 666 would have ended perfectly with the wonderful "All the Seats Were Occupied"

After 666 was recorded in 1970, the band broke and the album couldn't be released until 1972 because of many reasons that include the track "Infinity", the controversial concept and an innocent confession made by the band that they were influenced by Sahlep, most people believed it was a demon or a drug when it's only a non alcoholic beverage from Turkey. There was even a boycott by several radio stations, and when the album was finally released by Vertigo (the adventurous face of Mercury), the band was separate for two years.

There's no other possible rate for this essential masterpiece than 5 stars, not only for it's quality but also because this guys were ahead of their own time, something unusual for a band that had previously released only two poppy albums in search for a hit single.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#31536) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ignore anything the name Vangelis may mean to you (or even Demis Roussos if you're familiar with his later work); this album is really something unique and special. It's difficult to believe that the band had nothing more than "sahlep" (kinda like tea or coffee) to fuel this wild creativity, but I imagine the entire world was getting a contact high in the late 60s. "666" is a sonic riot of 60s rock styles spiced with Greek influences, extended noise and tone poems, vocal narration and snippets. The concept is quite unique; a circus stages a production of the Apocalypse of St. John not knowing the actual Apocalypse is occurring outside the tent. The audience believes everything to be a part of the show until the real and the theatrical collide.

We start with an opening crowd chant, the Abbie Hoffman-inspired "The System", and the exuberant acid rock song "Babylon". "Loud, Loud, Loud" swaps the carnival barker's biblical narration for that of a diplomat's child, over a soft piano and choral backing. "The Four Horsemen" deepens the biblical narrative with some eerie, atmospheric verses and a memorable psychedelic refrain that becomes the backing for some tasty guitar soloing at the end. "The Lamb" demonstates a clear proto-progressive improvisational structure, upon which the Greek influence emerges- a trend that increases for the instrumentation that accompanies the narrative of "The Seventh Seal". "Aegian Sea" is a more FLOYD-ian mellow jam, with additional muffled voiceover. "Seven Bowls" is a disturbing chant (one could say, a Greek Chorus) that trails off into the atmospheric noises of "The Wakening Beast". The quiet muezzin sound of "Lament" explodes into the mediterranean fanfare of "The Marching Beast", which suggests avant-garde classical influence. "Battle of the Locusts" returns us to rock and segues into the contagiously pounding Jerry Rubin-inspired jam, "Do It" (I would have loved an extended version of this). We're exposed to more avant-garde sounds on the brass-textured "Tribulation" before getting funky with the suprisingly Zappa-esque "The Beast". Finally, "Ofis" quotes a popular Greek drama to close out the first disc.

The second disc opens aptly with "Seven Trumpets", returning us to both the circus and the bible. "Altamont" brings some uncanny prescience- could they have had some glimpse of the all-too-real Apocalypse that the Stones would encounter there a year later? Nevertheless, it's a rolling, dense rock jam with a very interesting voiceover. "The Wedding of the Lamb" combines "Ummagumma"-era FLOYDian atmospherics with Greek flavors over pounding tribal percussion, and "The Capture of the Beast" increases tension with glassy percussion and unnerving synth effects. "Infinity" is a ritual orgasm, which caused much contoversy; originally 39 minutes long, it had to be truncated before the record company would even consider releasing the album (to continue the "Ummagumma" comparison, this is their "Several Species of Small Furry Animals..."). "Hic Et Nunc" brings us back to the rock with a catchy, dramatic "Jesus Christ Superstar" flavor. The exotic acid rock improvisation on "All the Seats Were Occupied" slowly builds to a climax, chaotically combining elements of the preceding songs (much the same way as PINK FLOYD did later in the "Atom Heart Mother Suite") to illustrate the armageddon conflict. It goes on a bit too long for comfort (I would have trimmed this piece and added some length to the "Locusts/ Do It" passages, but nobody asked me) but it does succeed in giving you a vivid impression of the end of the world, especially at the crashing, moaning finale. "Break" brings you back from the depths with some homey piano, bluesy fuzz guitar, and simple lyrics.

Anyone with any interest in the psychedelic era progenitors of progressive rock must give this album a try; fans of the COMUS sound and attitude should be able to take to this with little difficulty. It is a bit long, and requires some dedication to listen from start to finish-it's as hard to imagine the full 4-disc album that was originally planned as the patently impossible script Salvador Dali penned for the premiere. The playing is generally competant rather than spectacular, and the more familiar rock sections are less frequent than the forays into experimental sounds. The transitions are well done, however, and the sense of humor and exuberance, as well as the Greek influence, distinguishes the music from the typical noisy freak-outs of the era. "666" is simultaneously disturbing and funny, spacey and primitive, retro and timeless, sacred and profane- and much less pretentious sounding than you'd guess. I'm a little shaky about giving it the full five stars, as a fair number of people are likely to be turned off by the 'controversial' element and hippie-era sound, but this is a unique and impressive landmark in the birth of progressive rock, and should be heard at least once by anyone seriously interested in the genre.

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Posted Thursday, July 08, 2004

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This double album is very appreciated item, and it surely has many good qualities, but I really have to admit that I get bored when trying to listen this thing trough. For example the A-side is totally killed by the song "Loud, Loud, Loud", which could have been recorded in some christian revivalist convention tent! The album works a strong statement, but I'm not open towards religious propaganda messages like this. Also, I like more the nice late-60's gems which the band managed to forge, alas among with many filler tracks too. "Aegian Sea" is a quite beautiful "hit" moment on this record along with "The Four Horseman", but as a complete piece of work, I haven't got a good grip of this album, and it has mostly gathered dust in my bookshelf. But if you're into symphonic concept epics, and if christian religious content doesn't bother you, this is surely an interesting classic to be checked out.

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Posted Thursday, July 07, 2005

Review by frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is certainly an epic project. Some of this stuff is incredible, some of this stuff isn't that good. There is a lot of variety and interesting studio techniques on this album. some of the guitar soloing, and instrument work is amazing, as well as the different vocal styles. This album has so much variety that some of the tracks really annoy me. My favourite tracks are "Babylon", which has great basslines, acoustic work and some short but sweet soloing at the end. I also love "Do It", "The Battle of the Locust" and "The Marching Beast", as this are crazy jams with immense instrumental work. Some of this album is immense, some really amazes me. I think Vangelis and co had some really good ideas here, however there is probably too much on this plate for me to completely digest.

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Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "666" is certainly one of my most favourite albums of all times and therefore it's hard to get objectivity. It is certainly not flawsless, but given the circumstances and the time when it was conceived, it must be highly valued as a pioneering conceptual music piece. Its mythical, mystical, religiously flavoured antique and its folksy East-Mediterranean psychedelia always send shiver down my spine. Centered around the beautiful music textures of "Seven Trumpets/Altamont/The Wedding of the Lamb", album develops a dark atmosphere, attaching the biblical apocalypse story to the current death of Hippie era at the turn of the decades 1960s-70s. Absolutely remarkable and highly recommended album!

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Posted Sunday, January 29, 2006

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars 3.5 stars actually...

This famous Paris-located Greek band was formed in 1967 by keyboard wizard Vangelis Papathanassiou and vocalist/bassist Demis Roussos and released two decent pop/psychedelic albums (''End of the world'' in 1967 and ''It's five o'clock'' in 1969) before turning to a more progressive sound with the concept double LP ''666'' in 1972 (released after the band called it off).Based on the book of Apocalypse,the album offers many moments of pure experimentation and emotional inspiration.Blending pop rock with symphonic prog,greek folk tunes and byzantine vocals,lots of spoken parts and tons of changing moods,''666'' is a memorable album with a unique sound and great vocal lines by Demis Roussos.A really obscure and uncomparable release at the dawn of progressive rock!

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Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars 666 IS NO LONGER ALONE. AND THE SEVEN TRUMPETS BLOWING SWEET ROCK AND ROLL...

Coincidence, probably. As "The Lamb"? Who knows?

I mentioned in my review of their first album that I appreciated very much the great pop angle in their career. This album is rather impenetrable for me. Folkish Greek influences, some psychedelia but frankly, I wonder what's all the fuss about "666".

Disc one is made of sixteen numbers (16). Seven of them clocks at around one minute. I don't like this. A trussed up album.

The first bearable song is the ambient "Aegian Sea". Very much oriented towards the later Vangelis work. A true symphonic piece and one of the few highlights of this double album. Short pieces like "Seven Bowls", "The Wakening Beast" are pretty boring. But "Lament" is no better. A true lamentation for almost three minutes.

In this situation, a song as "The Marching Beast" is a kind of relief. But the rest of this first disc is abominable. A disaster. A suite of unbearable "music". One average song out of sixteen numbers. That's not a big deal, right? A big zero star, IMHHO.

Disc two starts almost on the same pattern than disc one. A short and useless "Seven Trumpets", a jammy jazzy "Altamont" with no feeling. Lots of experimentation on this work. Directionless, passionless. Anything "less" actually. Just listen to the boring "The Capture of the Beast". Fully improvised (or at least it sounds likes this).

The languish "Infinity" and its "special" mood is none of my likings either. But to be honest, the satanic concept doesn't really work on me. This is purely philosophical. The anti-thesis (the good, heaven) doesn't work on me either. Still, the performance of Irene Papas is . charming.

The long "All The Seats Were Occupied" is not really much more attractive. Greek folk influences (even Oriental ones), dark mood, religious feelings. Nothing from the other world. Some vocal parts from Infinity are integrated here and there. but will mostly lead to a general cacophony. A total chaos. This is hell, I guess. So, let's go to heaven if there are some seats available, please.

The second average song is the closing number "Break". At least we get some sort of a melody (and those guys knew how to write great ones).

I really don't like this work. At all. Completely hermetic. Even two stars sound too generous. Can't help.

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Posted Saturday, January 19, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I was really disappointed with this one after all the praising I heard during the years before I actually listened to the album. Ok, sure, it is progressive, it is bold, the musicians involved are very talented. etc. But all this does not necessarely translates into good music. And good music is not what you get in 666. Considering the group´s pop past I wonder the impact this album might have had at the time. And it is no surprise it did not have a follow up. It is almost completely experimental, with very few memorable melodies, if any at all.

Not much to say. It seems this album has some historical importance, I guess, as one of the first conceptual prog albums or something like that. But it did not age well. it sounds like a lot of LPs that were released at the time: pop groups trying to get some respect from critics doing something unusal, different or just crazy. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it did not. To my ears, this group failed to come up with something that was new, original and still quite enjoyable. You better check this out before buying the CD. Just for the hardcore prog fans and collectors, definitly.

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Posted Monday, April 28, 2008

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In 1970 Vangelis started working on his 3rd album under the name of Aphrodite's Child and for this he visioned a grand concept album. To help Vangelis create this epic album he borrow the talents of Demis Roussos, drummer Lukas Sideras and guitarist Argyris "Silver" Koulouris. Due to the scale of this album the entire writing and recording took just over a year to complete and when it was finally released the band has already split up!. Musically this epic and continuous suite is a brilliant mix of Psychedelic and Progressive rock. This band and this recording are both definitely way under appreciated! Instrumentally "666" blends Vangelis' vast array of vintage keyboards and sound effects with Roussos' Vocals and bass, Sideras drumming and Koulouris amazing guitar playing. Musically this album paints the story of the New Testament and utilizes a vast array of sonic, musical and cultural inspirations to convery this epic story. If you do not have this recording then go out and pick it up....you will be amazed !

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Posted Monday, June 29, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars When I originally heard about this album I was intrigued! A Greek progressive rock band with Vangelis as a member and on top of that it's a 80 minute concept album from 1972!

Surprisingly this album wasn't hard to find and I managed to get a mint copy in one of the big down town record stores. I also managed to get a copy of King Crimson - Discipline while I was there.

To tell you the truth the whole concept part of the album is something that I never bothered to understand. Maybe it's because it's so hard to distinguish after all it's one of the first concept album to be released under the progressive rock banner so I guess that I can cut it some slack for not getting it right the first time.

But how are the compositions? Well, they are quite different from the material released by other European bands at the time but I really enjoy the mix of melodic songs mixed with short avant-garde/acquired taste compositions. There are many clear indications of the style that Vangelis will undertake on his later works but here it's mixed into the rock band line-up. This is well exemplified by the long piece entitled All The Seats Were Occupied which takes up almost 1/4 of the entire album. It's basically a groovy jam composition with some atmospheric sections that finishes the album nicely before passing the torch to Break.

This album is definitely not for everyone but if you want to widen your symphonic prog horizons then it is worth checking out!

***** star songs: The System (0:23) Babylon (2:51) The Four Horsemen (5:57) The Lamb (4:34) Aegian Sea (5:25) The Battle Of The Locusts (0:56) Do It (1:45) Seven Trumpets (0:30) Break (2:55)

**** star songs: Loud, Loud, Loud (2:37) The Seventh Seal (1:30) Seven Bowls (1:25) The Wakening Beast (1:07) The Marching Beast (2:00) Tribulation (0:32) The Beast (2:33) Ofis (0:17) Altamont (4:45) The Wedding Of The Lamb (3:35) The Capture Of The Beast (2:15) Hic Et Nunc (3:00) All The Seats Were Occupied (19:27)

*** star songs: Lament (2:55)

** star songs: "Infinity" (5:16)

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Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars A multimovement suite that leads from heaven to hell in Revelation - but does it deserve masterpiece status?

Ah, the concept album! Vangelis and Demis Roussos hopped on board the ambitious fiasco to produce perhaps one of the most memorable, if slightly disconcerting, conceptual epic. Does it work? Not all the time but overall this album, a combination of symphonic psychedelia, blended with Greek Orthodox liturgical overtones, and the end of the Bible thrown in for good measure, is irresistible.

There are scintillating guitar passages and atmospheric synth melodies creating a unique ambience. To keep the thing together, an echoing deep voice introduces main sections in a Shatner-like (every word is its own sentence) slow bombastic, almost laughable manner. Soundbites that will have you glued to your seat include: "That. Was. The wedding. Of. The lamb." Or how about: "7 trumpets, the threatening anger, 7 trumpets, the trembling voice, 7 trumpets, you've got no choice, 7 trumpets, 7 angels, 7 trumpets, the music changes". Play that one in your church next time you study Revelation, it is as silly as it sounds. The album is similar to Moody Blues 'Days of Future Passed' and other conceptual albums featuring voice overs and orchestrations. It may not be to everyone's tastes but here it sits - a narrative unlike any other. Reminds me of Hawkwind's 'Space Ritual' at times, the way the narration intros musical sections.

The main drawcard of this though is to hear the wonderful Vangelis in his early years. Demis Roussos shines in the tracks he is involved particularly the awesome '4 Horsemen', the highlight of the album that is reprised at the finale. This is endearing and melodic but many of the tracks are unfathomable, though never less that entertaining. Each track runs into the next in true prog concept style but there are some passage that are unforgettable.

It is difficult to describe the track on side 2 titled enigmatically with the 'Infinity' symbol, but let's be as discreet as possible, using one word. Orgasm. Irene Papas lets loose vocally unlike anything put to vinyl and you will perhaps want to turn this one down if you play it at home so that the neighbours don't get ideas, or perhaps you should turn it up to annoy them - it is guaranteed. This is no 'Great Gig in the Sky', the vocals are pleasurable screams and moans, unaccompanied by music, and is guaranteed to send some listeners running for cover. Weird and wonderful and totally off kilter, you can't ignore this track, and it upset many people in its heyday for good reason. The centrifugal force of the album is of course the text of Revelation and perhaps the album drew many flower children to checking out the last mysterious pages of the Holy Word. Whether one believes or not this inspired reimagining or interpretation is compelling listening. In the same way as Poe was reinvented by Peter Hammill and Alan Parsons Project, Aphrodite's Child have approached this reimagining of Revelation with a great deal of seriousness injecting chunks of dialogue and lengthy instrumental passages that rise to a crescendo, and fall to dead silence. As with those aforementioned artists, there are certain points in this album that challenge and annoy but as a whole concept there is enough here to keep one interested. The most memorable are 'Babylon', '4 Horsemen', 'The Battle of the Locusts' and 'Do It' with guitar excellence bar none, and 'Infinity'. It is difficult to forget 'Infinity' once heard, as it is surprising and quite unnerving, perhaps hilarious in a way. The huge 20 minute finale is a cacophony of sounds and lengthy instrumental sections of Vangelis, with glorious collages of previous melodies and yes, that orgasm returns. Then it collapses into a psychedelic freak out, a maddening, macabre, majestic mess. This is hell, people.

It's certainly worth checking out this album which can only be described as a genuine curio unlike any you have heard. It has become legendary for all these reasons. It was the end of the band too - Vangelis made squillions of dollars with 'Chariots of Fire' and 'Blade Runner' plus a plethora of projects; Roussos met the great Pavarotti and later met other tenors to produce classical operatic concerts. Papas stopped moaning and continued her acting career in Greece to much acclaim.

Love it or loathe it, '666' is guaranteed to elicit a strong response and it never fails to transport you into another place and another time. *** for the music, ***** for the audacity to produce this thing. Let's be realistic and round this off to ****, not quite masterpiece but essential listening.

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Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Very, very weird thing. As I'm thinking about their performance, I think that we can relate this to Frank Zappa. It sounds equally weird and jokingly (innovative way of doing things their way is clear to hear) done.

Musically, it's mostly Rock (long guitar soloes, rough feeling, keyboards), but the feel is very experimental. A lot of passages without singing, that tells some kind of twisted biblical story (I haven't read it, so I don't know) with some Hawkwind-like synthesized vocals effect. Psychedelia, that's the place we're getting at. Some jazzy moments a little bit, but not too much.

4(-), it is strange kind of beast. Interesting of course, but not consistent. In fact, whole 666 is trying not to be that much consistent, with only story of this album linking it firmly together.

It's not perfect, there are (like on album that sounds kind of close to this - Warriors on the Edge of Space) repeated parts to create proper psych effect. It's all a part of the game.

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Posted Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Every once in a while, you get an album that is nothing like anything you've ever heard before or since. 666 is one of those albums. For those who have not heard of Aphrodite's Child, they were a short lived Greek group, who's previous output had been a mixture of pop and psychedelia. Amongst their ranks was none other than the keyboard virtuoso Vangelis. Whilst there is nothing to shout about in their previous two records, this album showed a completely different side to the group.

The album itself is a double LP concept album of the Book of Revelation from the Bible, but you don't have to be Christian to enjoy the stories. The music varies a great deal, from rock to greek folk to experimental at times.

Side 1 opens with The System, a short track of a crowd of people chanting We got the System to [%*!#] the System!. This leads us quickly into Babylon, a guitar-based pop tune. The lyrics are interesting and the melody is just fantastic. I particularly like the guitar solo before the end of the track.

Loud, Loud, Loud is a monologue read over a simple piano riff. The reader, who sounds like an annoying boy scout, hasn't really got a voice suited to this track, and it feels like filler. The next track, The Four Horsemen, is the most well known from the album, and for good reason. This song is the closest to 'straight prog' that the album gets, with a jaw-droppingly awesome guitar solo that lasts for the last 3 minutes of the song. The beginning of the song is very simple, with two verses and two choruses. The lyrics themselves are very factual, doing nothing more than describing the Four Horsemen, but Demis Roussos sings them with so much emotion.

The Lamb is a bizarre fusion of Greek folk music and rock. The first 2 minutes, I don't particularly enjoy, largely because of the inclusion of some wailing singers that pop up intermittently. While there are some interesting themes, the melody doesn't do anything for me. The second half of the song is very interesting though, with some cool instrumental ideas being tested. The first side is concluded with another monologue song, The Seventh Seal, no doubt quoted directly from the Bible. Fortunately, the boy scout has left, and we are narrated by a much more competent reader. The final words of the song ...silence covered the sky. feel like they should be followed by a heavy riff, but as the final words of Side 1 they work quite well.

Instead of that heavy riff, Side 2 begins with the relaxing Aegian Sea. This is a very laid back instrumental, that has some great themes in it. Halfway through, some of the quotes from 'The Seventh Seal' are repeated. Afterwards, the extremely factual Seven Bowls tells us where the seven bowls went along with some other biblical information, over very haunting experimental background music.

The next two tracks, The Wakening Beast and Lament are entirely instrumental and extremely quiet. 'Lament' sports some very atmospheric chanting, but most of you will be thinking 'I could be listening to Roundabout right now!' The quietness is interrupted by the extremely loud The Marching Beast. I quite like the brief darts of flute at 0:27 which remind you of Jethro Tull.

After the strange nature of 'The Marching Beast' we arrive at the highlight of the second side, The Battle of the Locusts, which is essentially a rock guitar solo. Just as your getting into the song, the narrator shouts Do It and the band double the tempo and continue. The guitar soloing, along with the random screams of the words 'Do It' make for very fun listening.

The definition of tribulation is 'a cause of distress'. In this case Tribulation certainly lives up to its title, being a mercifully brief atonal interlude of brass instruments. The Beast on the other hand, is very enjoyable, being rather poppy in nature. The singer reminds me of David Bowie. 'The Beast' has a humourous mood which contrasts to the rest of the album. The fifteen-second closer, Ofis, is another monologue spoken in Greek. It is, quite literally, all Greek to me.

We switch back to English before starting the third side, with a great introduction Seven Trumpets. Altamont is quite repetitive, a bit annoying in places, but still quite listenable. I quite like the narration read towards the end of the track. Some of the Bible does sound extremely cool, when read in this way.

The band have another shot at playing folk music in The Wedding Of The Lamb but nothing really stands out in this track. Before the end of the track, the narrator quips 'That was the wedding of the lamb.' and one half expects to hear a Python-esque 'And now for something completely different.' Instead, he says 'Now comes The Capture Of The Beast.' This brief piece is very percussive in nature, and is a very atmospheric prelude to the most controversial song on the album.

If you had started to get bored at this point, then you'll be glad to hear that is far from boring. The song features Greek actress Irene Papas, giving one of the most emotive vocal performances put on record. She says nothing more than 'I was, I am, I am to come' (hence infinity) but she manages to portray confidence, despair, anger and mental deterioration all in 5 minutes. Especially creepy is part where she begins hyperventilating, which in fact quickens your own heart rate! An incredible performance!

Hic And Nunc is yet another pop song, and follows in the style of the last two, being very upbeat and enjoyable, although I do prefer 'The Beast'. The song concludes the third side on a light note.

Until now, all of the tracks have been short, with the majority not lasting longer than 3 minutes. In true prog fashion, we are now treated to a 19 minute instrumental, All The Seats Were Occupied. DO NOT expect this to be the best on the album, or for this to become your favourite new epic track. The instrumental is another blend of folk and rock, which evolves over time, themes changing entirely. Some bits are better than others, with some cool time signatures and guitar effects and great drumming. Throughout the song, some clips from the rest of the album are played to remind you of the story, although these sometimes detract from the song itself. However the highlight of the song has to be the mildly comical insertion of the title at 18:24, which comes out of nowhere and leads into the crashing finale. The song is a good listen, but there are better ways you could spend your time.

The final song seems completely unrelated to the rest of the album. Break is a pop single that I enjoy very much. With it's simple lyrics and fantastic guitar solo, I am glad they left it in though, and it provides a beautiful ending to this strange, strange album. I also like that the words 'DO IT' are repeated once more before finishing altogether.

When I first heard this album, I listened to it over and over. However, I soon forgot about it, and I didn't listen to it for a while afterwards. Unlike most prog albums, it is quite easy to dip into, as the tracks are mainly very short. You should definitely check this album out, and see why it's garnered it's cult status, but don't expect to love, love, love it when you buy it.

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Posted Saturday, March 05, 2011

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Je t'aime.. moi non plus

Two years after the release of "It's five o'clock", Aphrodites's Child released their final album "666". By the time the album hit the shelves, the band had already split up, torn apart by the ubiquitous musical differences. It took some two years from inception for the album to be released, although it was completed about a year earlier. The delay in the release was reportedly due to misgivings on the the part of the record company, particularly with the decidedly naughty track "Infinity" (actually called "∞"), but also with the double album format. Remember though that this is a double LP, it could fit comfortably on a single CD.

By this time, guitarist Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris had completed his Greek national service, restoring the band to a quartet. A number of guest musicians also appear, including Irene Papas who provides the steamy vocals on the aforementioned "Infinity". During recordings, relations within the band became increasingly strained. The album is essentially a Vangelis creation, the concept being based on the Book of Revelations in the Bible. Vangelis collaborated with Costas Ferris, a Greek Actor and film director who wrote the lyrics to accompany Vangelis music. It is fair to say that the rest of the band were uncomfortable with the change of direction the album signalled, as it was clear that singles chart success would not be maintained by the style of music Vangelis had chosen.

Right from the start, we are aware that this album is radically different to its predecessors. Do not let the short track lengths mislead you, this is an album of great imagination and innovation. Whether it is the spoken pre-puberty vocal on "Loud loud loud", the complex melodic arrangement on "The four horsemen", the slightly unnerving chant of "The system", or the pre-Donna Summer sexuality of "Infinity", the overall effect is that of a coherent concept piece.

While Vangelis is the main instigator throughout, it is noticeable that this is also the first album by the band to feature Koulouris' lead guitar work to any extent. Tracks such as the brief but effective "Do it" offer him the space to display is dexterity. The feature track is of course the 19½ minute "All the seats were occupied", which occupies most of the last side of the double LP. This chaotic monster is essentially Vangelis first major instrumental composition, although phrases from the tracks which have gone before are permitted to drift in and out along the way.

In all, an album which single handedly established the posthumous Aphrodite's Child as a major contributor to early prog. For me, the album has not aged well and now sounds rather messy. We must however put it in context, and recognise the influence "666" had on our genre of choice.

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Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is one of the most unique albums that I own. A cult classic from Greece that looks at the serious subject of The Apocalypse through seemingly innocent and almost irreverent eyes. An album that is misunderstood by many but almost universally celebrated by Prog fans. It's one of the first double concept albums ever recorded. Funny but I usually am not a fan of either double albums or concept records yet this has captured my imagination completely. I have a difficult time explaining why which makes me think there has to be something magical about this recording.

"The System" is really people chanting the same line over and over for 23 seconds then "Babylon" kicks in with strummed guitar and people cheering as vocals and bass join in. An upbeat and catchy song with horns helping out as well. "Loud, Loud, Loud" opens with piano as narration comes in. Love the mood here. I like the line "Shouting together with the freaks" because i've hung around with a lot of so called freaks in my life. "The Four Horsemen" is probably my favourite track. I love how the vocals almost cry the lyrics. It kicks in just before a minute. How good is this ! Back to the spoken vocals that cry the words as contrasts continue.Vocal melodies then a guitar solo before 3 1/2 minutes. "The Lamb" is a good energetic track.Vocal melodies, drums and other sounds lead the way. Some unique and intricate sounds in this one. "The Seventh Seal" is a short track with narration. "Aegian Sea" is another amazing tune. Love the dreamy intro then it kicks in at a minute before returning to that spacey atmosphere again. Contrasts continue. Gorgeous ! Narration 3 minutes in with guitar and a beat. Nice.

"Seven Bowls" opens with percussion-like sounds then spoken words follow that quote scripture then the clanging sounds are back to end it. "The Wakening Beast" has these strange sounds as it blends into "Lament" where we get haunting vocal melodies. "The Marching Beast" kicks in right away and the piano becomes prominant. "The Battle Of The Locusts" is guitar led with upfront bass and drums.The guitar lights it up pretty good here. "Do It" continues with the bass, drums and guitar putting on a show. Great stuff. "Tribulation" is horn led and it sounds incredible.Too short though. "The Beast" is kind of silly and Zappa-like really. I like it ! I enjoy the drumming and guitar too. "Ofis" is a short spoken word piece to end disc one.

"Seven Trumpets" is a short spoken word passage announcing judgement in an irreverant way. "Altamont" is fantastic ! Catchy stuff with vocal melodies. Horns lead 2 minutes in. Great sound. Spoken words join in after 3 minutes as the music continues. "The Wedding Of The Lamb" is another good one with flute, percussion,vocal melodies and more leading the way. It settles back after 2 1/2 minutes then spoken words and drums end it. "The Capture Of The Beast" opens with brief spoken words as a beat and clanging sounds with atmosphere takes over. Great sound ! "Infinity" is the hardest track to digest as actress Irene Papas repeats words with urgency and then with emotion and then she's just out of control (haha). Insane. "Hic And Nunc" is live with piano, drums and vocals. Catchy.

"All The Seats Were Occupied" is the over 19 minute epic.We get snippets of earlier tracks being reprised on this one. Organ floats in then synths and stringed instruments as it builds. Great sound after 2 1/2 minutes. Brief spoken words before 5 minutes. Nice bass before 6 minutes. It settles right down 8 minutes in.You can hear Irene in the background. It kicks back in before 10 1/2 minutes. She's back and horns too. Guitar and percussion take over a minute later then the horns return.They're jamming here and I love this. Percussion leads after 17 minutes. Some crazy sax 18 1/2 minutes in for the big finish.That was one incredible piece of music. "Break" ends it beginning with piano and reserved vocals as organ comes and goes.The backing vocals sound like Wyatt here.The guitar is back when the vocals stop.They're back after 2 minutes.

It's an honour to be the first to hit 3,000 reviews even though I still wish Hugues had done it because he deserves it more than I do. I want to thank Hibou (Lise), Easy Livin (Bob), Sean Trane (Hugues), loserboy (James) and others who inspired me late in 2005 when I first started to frequent this site on a regular basis.These people especially became my inspiration and the windows to the Prog world for me. I didn't have music samples to listen to back then so these people and this site were the ones who I relied on as I learned about different bands and albums I had never heard of before. I didn't join this site until August 27th 2006 because for some reason I didn't want to join until I was ready to start doing reviews. Imitation is the sincerest form of flatery they say. My first review was September 1st of that year and I feel like I haven't even had time to take a breath since (haha). That day is coming soon though.

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Posted Saturday, May 07, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Having sat in the vault for a year after it was recorded and only limping out after the band split up, 666 is probably the album the band is best known for. With Vangelis taking control of the musical direction, the album's concept is - as the title implies - a retelling of the Book of Revelation, with an experimental psychedelic-symphonic approach influenced by Greek religious music at points.

I couldn't put hand on heart and tell you that I think it's a truly essential album - in particular, Infinity is kind of goofy and drags on for four minutes after the basic idea of the track (orgasm sounds and percussion) becomes tiresome - but it's an engaging enough epitaph for the band. Even then, I can't rate it much higher than three stars. The fact is that Aphrodite's Child are probably famous more because of the members' solo careers - Roussos became a very successful pop singer back home in Greece whilst Vangelis became... well, Vangelis - rather than by virtue of anything they produced as a band.

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Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the Beatles-inspired psych-flavoured albums 'End Of The World'(1968) and 'It's Five O'Clock'(1969), the Greek outfit Aphrodite's Child went for the grand move with this ambitious, double-sided concept piece. Although it would prove to be the their final release, fans and critics alike have hailed 1972's '666' as the group's defining moment, and one of the most important examples of European psychedelic rock. A trio, Aphrodite's Child would prove to be the springboard to later success for two-thirds of it's membership. Demis Roussous(vocals, bass) would become a highly-respected producer, songwriter and solo artist, enjoying European success throughout the upcoming decades, though even his popularity as a performer would be surpassed by that of keyboard-player Evangelio Papathanassiou, who, under the universally-recognised pseudonym Vangelis, would become a household name during the 1980's thanks to a series of electronically-coloured solo releases, two progressively-inclined albums with Yes front-man Jon Anderson(under the moniker Jon & Vangelis) and for his hugely popular soundtrack that accompanied the oscar-winning 1981 movie 'Chariots Of Fire'. However, before these later excursions, Roussos and Papathanassiou, along with drummer Lucas Sideras, were known as some of the most exciting and experimental purveyors of psychedelic music outside of the dominant USA and UK set of groups such as Tomorrow, The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane, thanks partly to their merging of modern rock elements with traditional Greek and European sounds. 'End Of The World' and 'It's Five O'Clock', plus a handful of popular singles, had seen the threesome build up a strong following throughout Europe, and a series of concerts in Germany, France and the UK led to a major- label deal with the French arm of Phillips. With the short-lived psychedelic phenomenon beginning to make way for more experimental forms of rock music, as pioneered by Pink Floyd, E.L.P. and Gentle Giant to name but a few, Aphrodite's Child were keen to follow suit. Their first two albums had made good use of the limited studio gadgetry available to them, with special effects, sound collages and tape splicing adding a bustling sonic layer to their quaint, folk-inspired acid-rock sound. However, the recording environment for '666' would prove far superior. Recorded in Paris, at the technologically-advanced Studio Europa-Sonar, '666' would be Aphrodite's Child's first - and only - stab at the concept album. Ostensibly, and thematically, the album was an attempt-of-sorts to musically adapt various passages from the bible, interspersed with psychedelic rock songs, more sound collages, strange and ethereal effects and, during the latter stages of side two, some seriously bizarre 'performance' art courtesy of sixties bohemian actress and fellow Greek Irene Papas, which took the form of manic chanting whilst the female performer was seemingly in the throes of sexual hysteria(!). These moments aside, the group did find time to add some actual songs to the album. 'The Four Horseman' is possibly the most popular track from '666', featuring a slow and carefully-composed keyboard-orientated build-up followed by a catchy, acoustic- guitar-accompanied chorus that hinted towards more progressive leanings. The song was a minor hit single in the UK, France and central Europe, and is one of the few stand-out moments on what is essentially an experimental psychedelic/progressive art-rock album from a trio of talented musicians who were, at the time at least, having virtually every creative whim indulged thanks to first-rate facilities and the moderate success of their previous two albums. Other tracks, notably 'Break', 'Lament' and 'Babylon', do showcase the trio's more restrained side, with the traditional Greek elements that graced 'End Of The World's stronger moments juxtaposing nicely with the albums jagged, Beatles-and-Tomorrow- styled psych-rock sound, though, ultimately, these moments are just too far apart to maintain interest throughout. There are far to many strange interludes, with talking voices, clanging bells, tribal percussion and atonal sound effects effectively filling up a large chunk of the album's lengthy running time, and the number of actual compositions is surprisingly small for a double-album. Encased between these tedious episodes are genuine moments of impressive beauty, with 'The Four Horsemen''s Crosby, Stills & Nash-esque harmonies and Pink Floyd-ish strains making for a wondrous, and rare, moment of clarity amongst all the manic stream-of-conciousness sonic craziness and experimental fiddling. However, despite the obvious care and craft, and many, many hours of labour that has gone into this epic release, too much of it has been spent on the least-accessible - and enjoyable - moments. 1969's debut 'End Of The World' is a far more compressed example of just what Aphrodite's Child were capable of, and those yet to hear a note of this Greek rock group are advised to start their study of the group there. A highly-creative album this 1972 effort may be, yet, unfortunately, most of the creativity seems to have been expended on virtually everything but the music. To put it lightly, this is very much a flawed gem, though one that demands a cursory listen at least from those interested in such things. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011

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Posted Sunday, October 09, 2011

Review by octopus-4
COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars I couldn't have chosen a different album for my review number 666.

This very complex album which takes the concept from the New Testament's Apocalypse sees the last act of Aphrodite's Child, just after Vangelis had started his solo career. It sees also a lot of guest appearances, one for all the actress Irene Papas who will later record two albums with the keyboardist. Who is not familiar with this very early progressive band may think that the title has something to do with metal or Satanism.

Totally wrong. This is a metaphoric view of the late 60s western society.

The first 24 seconds with people repeating "We fight the system" are a clear reference to the French '68 (The band was actually there) and also the Vangelis early release "Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit" contains excerpts from demonstrations and barricades.

"Babylon" is a symbol. For Rastamen is a synonym of cops, but if we think to the Bible, this is the city where the languages are mixed by God because of the attempt to reach the sky by building a tower. It's one of the many "sin cities"" of the ancient Testament. For AC is a catchy beat song (including Sgt Peppers like brasses and false live public). Please give an ear to Demis Roussos at the bass as he's always remembered for his falsetto voice only.

"Loud, Loud, Loud" starts with piano than a speaking woman that should be Irene Papas, but it doesn't seem her voice to me. She speaks of city walls falling down "loud". Listen to Patti Smith's "Birdland" it's exactly the same song with different lyrics.

"The Four Horsemen" is the most famous song from this album, the first on which Demis shows his high pitch on a carpet of thin sounds provided by Vangelis. Something similar will appear on the Blade Runner's OST. The chorus is rock with a touch of psychedelia. A great song full of atmosphere with a nice but quite standardized guitar solo at the end.

"The Lamb" is Jesus in the Christian symbology. A very unusual signature opens this song. Vangelis shows here some keyboardist's skill. He was not used to play so fast in his solo albums, but on this song he demonstrates that he can. One of the most psychedelic moments of the album specially in the second half when keyboards and guitar sound very floydian because of the oriental melodies in Rick Wright's style.

"The Seventh Seal" is what the Lamb (Jesus) opens last and starts the Apocalypse. This is one of the most dramatic episodes of the bible and this one minute track is very calm instead with a man voice reciting the Biblic passage.

"Aegian Sea" Is the Sea which wets the Greek coasts. If you consider that the band was exiled in France because of the "Colonels" dictatorship this instrumental acquires a particular taste. There's an electronic base with a blues guitar and a voice repeating "there's no more suffer for hunger, there's no more suffer for thirst".

"Seven Bowls" is made of bell sounds and a choir in Greek Theathre style speaking of the incoming apocalypse...."the sea turns black, the river turns red...".

"The Wakening Beast" follows without solution of continuity. The same bells as before and noises that should transmit the idea of something coming slightly, more than a wakening it gives me the impression of a birth.

"Lament" has a folk flavor. A dirge on deadly bells in a typical Greek style or at least it seems to me. It's a very emotionally intense moment.

Now the apocalypse is started. "The Marching Beast" comes on. It starts as a rock song. The imprinting of Vangelis is clear to those who know Vangelis solo efforts. In particular the piano scales come back on Heaven and Hell and the pauses in the first minute of the track can be found on Spiral.

"The Battle Of The Locust" is a very acid rock-blues song mainly based on bass and guitar. Again please note the bass line as Demis Roussos deserves to be considered also as excellent bassist. The song is joint to "Do It". They are almost the same song and this is more acid than the first.

"Tribulation" is a short eclectic instrumental which can be considered also "Avant".

"The Beast" is a bluesy song with connections with Procol Harum, so a bit late in 1972, but surely not bad. I don't know who sings, but he sounds quite similar to Roger Chapman.

"Ofis" and "Seven Trumpets" are voices only. It's like a TV speaker announcing the end of the world like it was a Saturday night's TV show.

"Altamont" is a jazzy instrumental which reminds me to the Wishbone Ash of "Pilgrimage" or to Colosseum (the Live), but it could also fit in the Gong's "Flying Teapot" trilogy. I'm curious to hear comments about. One of the best tracks of the whole album.

"The Wedding of The Lamb"...my knowledge of the Bible is not good, so I don't know if the Lamb gets married. This track is very interesting for the arrangements. It's folk, but this could be folk from a number of different countries. There's a celtic flute, a Greek choir, African drums which turn into a jazz drum solo while the choir keeps track of the two chord of which the track is made. in the last minute the drum solo introduces the next track.

"The Capture Of The Beast" starts from the drum solo. Can the beast be captured? I don't know, but other than the drums, the keyboards come from remote to help the drums.

"Infinity" is opened by low volume percussion and vocals. While we proceed to the end, the music becomes more challenging. The voice screaming "I am to come I was" is more obsessive than the drums below. Is it the beast? It looks like. I can't say that it's a scary track because I'm used to Shub-Niggurath and similars, but it doesn't transmit good sensations for sure. Is she Irene Papas? she could as the way she uses the voice is very theatrical. Nothing so dark will ever be realeased by any of the band's members in the following years.

"Hic et Nunc"(here and now) is another false live. Also in this song I hear some Canterbury influences. Or better, the beat influence makes me think to Wigwam but I hear also Gong or even Gentle Giant on this one. Surely a song that deserves some attention. Its position in the album, just after the darkest and more challenging moment is not a case. It's a pity the this song is closed by a fade out.

Now comes the epic: a 20 minutes track after a whole album on which the longest song doesn't reach 5 minutes and half and some are shorter than one minute. "All The Seats Were Occupied" is a strange title. It's a suite of the kind of Saucerful of Secrets or some Caravan instrumental moments, but totally original. Nobody else than Aphrodite's Child could have done a thing of this kind. It's an epic track, very intense and developed. There are folk elements, the guitar played like a bouzuki or a mandolin for example. It's a track on which the effort of all the band's members can be heard. The recorded voices from previous tracks, specially infinity, which overlap the choir in the most relaxing part, it looks like this is a theatrical representation of the Apocalypse, or just that the whole mankind is watching the end of the world like it was a performance. In the crescendo of chaos which follows, the sreams from Infinity are dreadful and spine chilling. At minute 12 there's another section made of percussion and guitar which can remotely remind to Santana. The music grows up again including bass and keyboards. Some tapes from the previous speeches are quite randomly in but the base is clear and the track does never loose its continuity. This track is enough to consider the album a masterpiece. The increasing scale at minute 15:20 may have influenced Roger Waters for In The Flesh. The crescendo becomes more chaotic and at minute 16:30 the music dissolves again into percussion and tapes. It's time for a long drums solo on which Vangelis puts electronic spacey sounds which survive when the drums stop. A voice says "All the seats were occupied" and the track ends in a scary chaos. Not bad for the end of the world.

There's time for a closer. "Break" is a poppy tune with Demis singing "Goodbye my friends". The world is over and the album is about to end. After all the darkness accumulated up to now, the band didn't want to leave its public with so bad sensations. They probably knew that this would have benn their last work. NOTE; It's not Demis who sings Break. It' Lucas Sideras. Thanks to "Mrbelette" for pointing it out.

They have closed their story with a masterpiece, not many artists have been able to end in this way.

5 obvious stars

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Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Progressive Rock has always been drawn to fantasy themes, so it's no surprise that it would sooner or later steal a few pages from the Holy Bible. I write that, be assured, with tongue lightly in cheek, which is the only way to approach both the overblown extravagance of this 1972 album and the wacky apocalyptic fever dreams that inspired it.

The New Testament Book of Revelation was tailor-made for a Prog Rock concept album, especially in the spiritually adventurous and drug-addled early 1970s. GENESIS would later cover the same thematic ground in their epic song "Supper's Ready", with better poise and in a quarter of the time. But their more refined symphonic interpretation lacked the untethered psychedelic overkill of this album, not to mention the orgasmic shrieking of guest star Irene Papas.

Goodness knows how closely the '72 version follows Scripture, but was that really its aim? In retrospect, the adaptation here by multi-instrumentalist Evangelos Papathanassiou (aka Vangelis) pandered more to counter-culture conceits, with the same calculated efficiency he would later bring to his solo albums and soundtracks. "We are the people / the tambourine people / the alternative people" is a more or less typical lyric. And the album's opening chant ("We got the System / to f*ck the System") can be heard as a quintessential anti-establishment mantra.

The album, originally two LPs, covers a lot of territory in 78-minutes, earning high marks for diversity and chutzpah. Side One of the first record re-imagines the fall of Babylon as an Arena Rock event, then moves to the haunting poetry and solo piano of "Loud, Loud, Loud", then kicks into the full-throttle cosmic rock of "The Four Horsemen", followed by some electro-vibe Aegean folk music, followed in turn by even more portentous narration...

...And on it continues, throughout four sides of vinyl: into the Battle of Locusts, the Wedding of the Lamb, the Capture of the Beast (complete with rattling chain effects), plus the Seven Bowls, Seven Seals, Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets, so forth and so on. All of it incredibly ambitious, suitably pompous, and wildly creative in an undisciplined sort of way. Much like the car depicted in the sleeve art it's an album careening headlong into a masonry wall: a messy but impressive experience, musically compelling but often even more incoherent than its source text.

But that same stylistic inconsistency is possibly a saving grace, because if one episode doesn't grab your attention (hard to believe) the next won't be too far behind it. Disregarding the hodge-podge insanity of the climactic twenty-minute medley "All the Seats Were Occupied", the album packs 23-separate tracks into 58-total minutes: you do the math.

Don't blame Vangelis for trying to stuff all his eggs into one colorful basket. This was the sound of a young musical prodigy with aspirations beyond his native Greece, and as yet (thankfully) unaware of his own limitations. Under the circumstances a few cracked shells ought to be expected, but who cares? We can only hope the actual End of Days will sound this entertaining.

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Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Actually 666 is a pretty controversial album looking at the reviews/ratings on here. In fact there are three categories of appreciation to be detected: the admirers giving the album 4 or 5 stars without reserve, the "loathers" hammering it down without hesitation and the critics who have their sincere doubts about the class of this historical piece of art but don't want to go that far to degrade it with a (very) low rating. Count me in with this third category I'd say.

I mean 666 is a progressive landmark in my opinion but on the other hand it contains many moments that are pretty hard to bear for many people like the long lasting copulation on second disc for instance. It has it's meaning and significance for the story of the album no doubt but I can imagine there are complete tribes on this earth who feel this shouldn't be on any serious recording. Okay, the late sixties and seventies was the era of sexual liberation but to utter this in such a flagrant way, hmmm...

It's only fair to say this feature on the album is just one of many aspects and there is much to digest on this doubler. Strange sounds of all kind, great music (Four Horsemen f.i.) and much more in fact making 666 at least an intriguing output. Not good enough by any means for the grade "excellent" in my opinion for therefore the positive impressive moments are a minority compared to the negative bizarre stuff. But at least 666 is original and important to the history of progressive rock. And for that reason all things considered it gets three stars from me (interesting and essential instead of good but non-essential in this case). By the way like several reviewers did before me I deliberately saved this album to become my review # 666 :)

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Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
4 stars Yes, this is my 666. review. How original! :)

I have heard only singles from APHRODITE'S CHILD besides this concept classic, but I bet it was a huge leap forward from the pop song oriented 60's output, despite the fact that this work was started and recorded quite soon after It's Five O'Clock (1969). As the record company demanded severe editing and Vangelis kept wisely his own head, the release was postponed by nearly two years. The concept based on the Bible's Revelation of John (13/18) - the original working title of the album was Apocalypse - came from another Greek living in Paris at the time, the film director Costas Ferris.

To us progheads 666 is naturally the main reason we know Aphrodite's Child in the first place, but to anyone associating this band primarily with the raspy, sentimental tenor of Demis Roussos, singing the cheesy 'Rain & Tears' for example, will be deeply surprised. Roussos is effectively stealing the show on the best-known song 'The Four Horsemen', but on the whole 666 contains very little ordinary singing. Instead human voices are more used in spoken narrative parts. 'Loud Loud Loud' is almost like from a religious service, 'The Seventh Seal' (1:30) has odd, ethnically flavoured sound tapestry backing the melodramatic narration, and 'Aegian Sea', which is my favourite track, would work perfectly as a spellbinding instrumental also without the narrative in the latter half of it, which however makes it even stronger.

Musical ingredients are very varied, ranging from folklore to psychedelic or avant-gardisctic prog. The patchwork factor sometimes disturbs the coherence, and frankly there are quite many tracks (of 25) that I'm not fond of. And isn't it quite silly to announce: "That - was - The Wedding - of - the Lamb..... Now - comes - The Capture - of the Beast'? Irene Papas does her notoriously provocative wailing on 'Identity' which is followed by the rollicking "Here and Now!" ('Hic et nunc'). The nearly side-long 'All the Seats Were Occupied' is rather over-stretched, but I like the way 666 ends with the simple, emotional song 'Break'.

666 may be far from being a perfect and coherent masterpiece (indeed it has received a lot of low ratings too), but it is a very unique and powerful classic in its own clumsy way. Every proghead should listen it through with concentration at least once. 3½ stars, rounded up for uniqueness.

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Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

Latest members reviews

5 stars I swear I enjoy this album more each time I listen to it. I find it impossible to stop once I've started. While I am not fully refreshed on this band's history or its members, it's hard to ignore the variety they bring to this album. Besides, we're all here for the music anyways so here goes: 666 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1145799) | Posted by ebil0505 | Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I am so sorry, Mr Vangelis, but I am very, very disappointed with this greek psychedelic / prog album. Outstanding, 666 is an experimental concept work about the biblical book Revelations (Apocalypse). And it's booring. Full of recitations, choral chanting and including some performance art ... (read more)

Report this review (#975274) | Posted by VOTOMS | Monday, June 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, what an album! Aphrodite's Child present their own conceptual musical version of the Apocalypse. All the music was written by Vangelis. There are no songs like the more commercial 'Rain And Tears' or 'It's Five O'Clock' on here! It's a double album full of bizarre and unusual, twisted music b ... (read more)

Report this review (#396465) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Tuesday, February 08, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hmmnhh... Flower power anybody? '666' was a Vangelis concept and by the time they completed this recording no band member was talking to anyone. Big huffs all around by the looks of things. However, apparently this sold... and I've got sources here... 20 million copies!!! Crumbs almigh ... (read more)

Report this review (#303148) | Posted by Dobermensch | Sunday, October 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This turned out be both their magnum opus and their swan song. Fitting, I suppose, since the subject is the Apocalypse According the John. At any rate, this is finally the complete line-up of Aphrodite's Child; Silver Kolouris having been discharged from the Greek military. And what an addi ... (read more)

Report this review (#295833) | Posted by Progosopher | Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Without play on words this album is the prog bible,my favourite one of all times it displays the incredible ability and talents of APHRODITE'CHILD,this band was unique,no other had such a huge musical palette.No use to discribe each track from this masterpiece because it's better to listen to ... (read more)

Report this review (#292499) | Posted by jean-marie | Thursday, July 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Came across this album some years ago out of curiosity after hearing "The Four Horseman" for the first time. This is definitely a concept album with many different levels and musical diversity. It did take me a while to get into 666, initially I found I couldn't sit through the whole thing, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#237006) | Posted by nzproglover75 | Thursday, September 03, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The System - alright as a intro, short enough not to annoy. Babylon - brillant high energy song, catchy as hell with some bang up vocals. Addicting track: you'll find yourself listening to this randomly when you have some empty minutes. Loud, Loud, Loud - your setting up the concept, I get that, ... (read more)

Report this review (#199091) | Posted by manofmystery | Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is hard to be a fan of prog without an interest in the wierd and unusual, but this album is certainly something special. While I am not usually a big fan of this type of experimentally outrageous music, this album is worth your time. Aphrodite's Child scored a wonder with 666 even if the al ... (read more)

Report this review (#185087) | Posted by InfiniteWake | Thursday, October 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, I suppose many people will find it hard to listen and I don't blame them for that. It's not a classic prog sound almost at all. The experimentations are too many and sometimes very weird, even for prog music. Then why would I give it 5 stars? The thing we should all should focus, I think, ... (read more)

Report this review (#171230) | Posted by aegeanwatcher | Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'd like to point out certain aspects of this album that make it rise above almost all others in its genre in rockandroll history, 1st: this is a psychadelic album that probably requires the use of hallucingens to truly appreciate all the nuances on the album, 2nd: when it was an album only pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#168933) | Posted by drziltox | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Here we are! Here's one of the greatest albums of all times are real piece of brilliant creativity by Vangelis! Someone defoned 666 a kind of Infernal Sgt. pepper but IMO it's much more than this! The musical styles used on this album include a little prog rock and a ton of psychedelic rock, alth ... (read more)

Report this review (#163244) | Posted by MorgothSunshine | Wednesday, March 05, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, this is no doubt a masterpiece. Though it contains some odd materials, it's a milestone album of progressive rock (especially for the Greek). This double album sensed colorful. The disc 1 contains shorter track, then the second disc contains heavier tracks. I've known that this was a conce ... (read more)

Report this review (#145673) | Posted by progeater | Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#115882) | Posted by Pnoom! | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The number speaks for itself. This album deserves a 6 on the five star scale. I hadn't listen to it since 15 years and recently put my hand on it. The shock was the same. And suddenly it all comes back just as it'd only been yesterday. Not a wrinkle. This album is a must, now and ever after. ... (read more)

Report this review (#82091) | Posted by Serail | Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This day (6 June 06) cannot pass without someone offering a review of this great album, so it may as well be me. For details on the flavors and particulars, please see earlier favorable reviews, which capture my opinions quite well - in particular, see the reviews by radiohead0, Ivan Melgar M, ... (read more)

Report this review (#80561) | Posted by Flemdido | Tuesday, June 06, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is relatively up and down. There are many good tracks, some ok tracks, and a few really bad tracks. This album in my opinion is mostly folk/psychedelic based music and at times their is touches of jazz fusion. The guitar and synth take turns as lead instruments and the keys and voc ... (read more)

Report this review (#78882) | Posted by bapazian | Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is more difficult than I had expected to make a critic for this masterpiece? Created in year 1970 when prog was still a thought, those guys from Greece have made the first conceptional album of rock. Having as concept the "The Book of Revelations" of Saint John from the Bible, those showed ... (read more)

Report this review (#70212) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Reviewing this kind of album is a real hassle, it's probably among the most chaotic albums ever made. If a larger portion of the songs were memorable then it wouldn't be such a problem and if the band didn't constantly jump between different styles of music it would also be a lot easier, oh a ... (read more)

Report this review (#68888) | Posted by | Thursday, February 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Whew, where to start . . . this is one of the most unique albums I've ever heard. It is certainly "progressive" in the broad sense, but to pigeonhole this into a genre almost seems unfair. It's simply a "movie for the mind" induced through music. And damn it's a scary one!!! The plot is pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#50647) | Posted by | Friday, October 07, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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