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APHRODITE'S CHILD

Symphonic Prog • Greece


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Aphrodite's Child biography
The short story of APHRODITE'S CHILD starts in 1968, when the Greek/Egyptian bassist and vocalist named Artemios Ventouris Roussos (Demis Roussos) and the powerful drummer Lucas Sideras were supposed to meet the multi instrumentalist Evengelio Odyssey Papathanassiou (VANGELIS) who had left his first group FORMINXS, but the first two were not admitted to the United Kingdom because they had no working permits but custom officers discovered photos and tapes in their luggage so they assumed the musicians intended to stay.

A few months later the three musicians join in Paris with Anargyros Koulouris (Silver Koulouris) a very competent guitar player and they decide to form a new band which was supposed to mix traditional Greek music with Western Pop and Psychedelia, but they ended doing much more than was expected.

Due to their financial situation they had to sign a terrible contract with a record company. Soon after the birth of the band, Silver Kouloris has to leave the group because he was called for his Military Service and only joins again for the recording of their last album 666, during these years Demis Roussos has to play guitar and bass.

Their first two releases "End of the World" (which includes two hit singles, "Rain and Tears" and "I Want To Live", the last one reached N° 1 in most Europe) and "It's Five O'Clock" showed a commercial oriented band with a very peculiar sound, but it's not until 1970, when they start to record the brilliant and adventurous "666" that they get a place in progressive Rock history even when the relation inside the band was at the lowest point, mostly because VANGELIS wanted to do more serious music than Lucas Sideras and Roussos.

The paradox is that this masterpiece which combines 100% Symphonic structure, British Psychedelia, Greek Orthodox Religious music with a touch of pop was only released in 1972 (after the band had already split) due to several reasons like the controversial concept ("The Book of Revelations"), the confession made by the band that "666" was conceived under the influence of Sahlep (some people believed this word was referred to some kind of pagan divinity when in fact it's a common non alcoholic beverage from Turkey) and the track "Infinity" sung by the great actress Irene Papas which is really a five minutes orgasm.

After APHRODITE'S CHILD disbanded, the members took different paths, like Roussos who became a well known pop singer and VANGELIS who is still a re...
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666: Apocalypse of St John666: Apocalypse of St John
Import
Universal I.S. 1989
Audio CD$9.69
$7.99 (used)
SinglesSingles
Extra tracks · Import
Br Music Holland 2003
Audio CD$10.50
$15.99 (used)
666666
One Way Records Inc 1996
Audio CD$76.95
$18.00 (used)
Best ofBest of
Import
Universal Int'l 1994
Audio CD$7.45
$6.44 (used)
666666
Import
Universal Japan/Zoom 2011
Audio CD$30.85
$30.16 (used)
666666
Import
Missing Vinyl 2012
Vinyl$35.00
Babylon the Great: An Introduction to Aphrodite's ChildBabylon the Great: An Introduction to Aphrodite's Child
Import
Universal Import 2002
Audio CD$41.54
$33.46 (used)
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APHRODITE'S CHILD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

APHRODITE'S CHILD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 56 ratings
End Of The World
1968
2.65 | 50 ratings
It's Five O'Clock
1969
3.89 | 258 ratings
666
1972

APHRODITE'S CHILD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

APHRODITE'S CHILD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

APHRODITE'S CHILD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.72 | 13 ratings
Best Of Aphrodite's Child
1975
3.22 | 4 ratings
The Art Of Démis Roussos And Aphrodite's Child
1993
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of Aphrodite's Child
1994
4.05 | 11 ratings
The Singles
1995
3.91 | 3 ratings
Greatest Hits
1995
3.91 | 5 ratings
The Complete Collection
1996
2.55 | 6 ratings
Babylon the Great
2002
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Singles +
2003

APHRODITE'S CHILD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 4 ratings
Lontano dagli Occhi/ Quando L'amore Diventa Poesia (7")
1969
4.00 | 3 ratings
Spring Summer Winter and Fall
1970
5.00 | 2 ratings
Special Radio Cuts!
1972
4.50 | 2 ratings
Break
1972

APHRODITE'S CHILD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 258 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by ebil0505

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 is an album, like many other great prog gems, not to be taken lightly. There is a lot happening, whether its catchy "pop" tunes (The Four Horsemen) or biblical-times-sounding rhythms (The Marching Beast) or apocalyptic prophecies (Seven Bowls) or famous Greek actresses orgasming for 5 minutes (that one scared me). I find the fluidity between songs and balance of these mentioned elements is what drives the album home. It stands out as the perfect example of what a concept album truly is: .

As far as content is concerned it is certainly a more serious and sometimes unnerving account for what is described in the book of Revelations (at least that's what I am led to believe and it certainly seems accurate at least). I rather enjoy the short songs that serve only to transition; they prepare the ears for the next stage in the album, the next part of the story if you will.

Musically I find it perfectly balanced between psychedelic sounds (Aegian Sea) and rocking riffs and soloing (The Battle of the Locusts). AC don't really leave you bored for a moment. They make sure not to overdo as well as drone on. After several listens I feel the whole album is just leading up to the grand finale (All the Seats Were Occupied) and then for one last goodbye (Break) which is the resolution to the climax of the previous song.

All in all, I am glad this album exists. It has helped shape my view on concept albums as well as prog music in general. For an album to be so weird and accessible at the same time is a keeper in my book.

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 It's Five O'Clock by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 50 ratings

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It's Five O'Clock
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by octopus-4
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars A melodic pop song. One of the most successfull of the end of the 60s. Based on the organ of Vangelis and the splendid high pitched voice of Demis Roussous whose bass playing justifies a comparison with Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pales.

The band is in a sort of exile. The "colonel's" regime is ruling Greece and even if Aphrodite's Child don't put too much politics in their songs, they are not much loved by the fascists as their "Rain and Tears", an arrangement from the Pachelbel's Canon in D major (another remind to Procol Harum) was become a sort of anthem of the "French May".

"It's Five O'Clock" finished to be one of the most successful singles of the period, but it was an exception, not the standard. The rest of the album is quite different. Too psychedelic for the mainstream public who loved the single, and unfortunately for us, too "proto" respect to the postumous masterpiece (as published after they disbanded) "666".

What comes next is vey different.

"Wake Up" is a kind of flower/power song of a kind which reminds me to "Antoine", a French singer of the same period and his Dylan's cover about throwing stones...the only remarkable things are that it's an ascending canon in the first half of the song and acquires a Beatles influence in the second half.

"Take your time" is a country-rock song. Very 60s as well. The bad is that Demis doesn't use his falsetto and Vangelis doesn't play organ. The two bigger strength of the band are not used.

They are used on "Annabella" instead. This is the first song of the album with a progressive appeal (consider that we are more into the "proto" zone). The seashore in the back could have been limited to the beginning and the end of the song. There's too much of it, but it's not so relevant.

"Let Me Love, Let Me Live" is a psychedelic song with flower/power lyrics. Like the psychedelic period of Beatles. Personally, I like the genre. The "let me love"crescendo takes too much, anyway.

"Funky Mary" contains hints of what they'll experiment better on "666". it's a percussion based song with bluesy vocals and almost no chords. A very interesting song closed by a nice piano contribute by Vangelis.

"Good Time So Fine" sounds East-Coast with a Broadway like female choir and a trumpet which adds an easy-jazz touch. Demis singing appears mimic of Louis Armstrong. Nota song to skip but surely not a highlight.

"Marie Jolie" is at least a song which takes advantage of Demis' high pitches. It's a melodic song with folk elements. One on which the Greek roots are evident. Instead of a 12-string guitar they could have used a bouzuki. Too melodic for my tastes but not a bad song at all. A curiosity: For many years I have thought that the song title was "Sometimes", the word with which it starts.

Finally it's likely a bouzuki that opens "Such A Funny Thing". A folky song on which Demis uses his highest pitches alternated to flute and piano.

It's not properly a progressive album, but I can suggest to listen to it because it's very "dated". It means that you can have an idea of how the late 60s were. Apart of the obvious Beatles King Crimson and Pink Floyd in 1969 were already on a different level. This is how the more artistic pop was sounding.

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 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 258 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

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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 It's Five O'Clock by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 50 ratings

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It's Five O'Clock
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Symphonic prog? Of course not. It's Five O'Clock is the second album by Aphrodite's Child, and it's a poor Country Folk spin-off work, with some psychedelic rock influences IMO. It's tiresome, boring melodies and the whole album have that "I have heard it before" feeling. Even the keyboards by Vangelis sounds annoying here. Almost every track here seems to be a pop ballad, but without innovation or even outstanding creativity. I don't know what drives anyone to buy such an album after listen to any song. Totally uninteresting. I don't have any track to highlight here. I'm sorry. That's my honest opinion.

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 End Of The World by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.44 | 56 ratings

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End Of The World
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by VOTOMS

3 stars Aphrodite's Child. The greek god Vangelis wasn't so strong yet. More psychedelic than prog (as you can judge by the cover art). End of The World is their debut, and in my point of view, far better than the legendary conceptual, but poor, "666". Nothing so special at this album, but it's a cool listening. I like the instrumentation, the drums and keyboards are funny. You Always Stand in My Way is the highlight of the album, without any doubt. The weakest songs are Rain and Tears, The Grass Is No Green, and the over the top ending track, Day of The Fool. It's good, but it lacks the special sauce.

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 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 258 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by VOTOMS

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, the album doesn't reach a state of enjoyment and coherence for me. From both discs, only a few songs, from the first disc, includes some good passages: the keyboards at The Lamb and The Marching Beast. I can say that short tracks like Battle of The Locusts, Do It and Tribulation are better than the main songs.

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 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 258 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

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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 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 258 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

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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 Best Of Aphrodite's Child by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
2.72 | 13 ratings

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Best Of Aphrodite's Child
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is a good compilation of pre-666 material. It is a collection of many successful hits the greek band has graced us between 1968 and 1970, songs taken from the albums "End of the World" and "It's Five o' Clock" (and from other singles released in that period of time).

From what I know, it's the first ever Aphrodite's Child compilation and for a long time it was the only way to get most of Aphrodite's Child's hit songs (Rain and Tears, for example).

The tracks are a product of their times (the end of the sixties): there are beautiful melodies (with the beautiful vocals of Demi Roussos) and the superb symphonic-pop sound with which the band climbed up the charts of Europe, as in the excellent "Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall" and in the memorable "It's Five o' Clock".

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 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 258 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

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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