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APHRODITE'S CHILD

Symphonic Prog • Greece


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Aphrodite's Child picture
Aphrodite's Child biography
Founded in 1967 in Paris, France, by Greek musicians - Disbanded in 1972

The short story of APHRODITE'S CHILD starts in 1967, 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 and custom officers discovered photos and tapes in their luggage so they assumed the musicians intended to stay (Which was true).

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 prejudices caused 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.
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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)

3.52 | 96 ratings
End Of The World
1968
2.73 | 82 ratings
It's Five O'Clock
1969
3.90 | 442 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)

2.68 | 21 ratings
Best Of Aphrodite's Child
1975
3.34 | 7 ratings
The Art Of Dmis Roussos And Aphrodite's Child
1993
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Best of Aphrodite's Child
1994
4.11 | 15 ratings
The Singles
1995
3.89 | 8 ratings
Greatest Hits
1995
4.00 | 9 ratings
The Complete Collection
1996
2.75 | 10 ratings
Babylon the Great
2002
4.25 | 12 ratings
The Singles +
2003

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

3.13 | 4 ratings
End of the World
1968
3.13 | 4 ratings
Rain and Tears
1968
2.50 | 2 ratings
Valley of Sadness
1968
3.33 | 3 ratings
Let Me Love, Let Me Live / Marie Jolie
1969
4.00 | 2 ratings
I Want to Live / Magic Mirror
1969
3.39 | 12 ratings
Lontano dagli Occhi/ Quando L'amore Diventa Poesia (7")
1969
4.20 | 10 ratings
Spring Summer Winter and Fall
1970
3.00 | 2 ratings
Such a Funny Night / Annabella
1970
3.67 | 3 ratings
It's Five O' Clock / Funky Mary
1970
2.00 | 1 ratings
Annabella / Take Your Time
1971
4.50 | 6 ratings
Special Radio Cuts!
1972
4.50 | 8 ratings
Break
1972

APHRODITE'S CHILD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 442 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by Igor91

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

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

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

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

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

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

 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 442 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The most experimental album of all three by Aphrodite's child is not a very coherent effort but presents musicians at peak of their artistic abilities and the group as a whole.

"The four horsemen" is one of few pop-oriented and melodic songs with dominant vocals. "The lamb" is a fantastic instrumental work by Vangelis in the Greek style. Clavinet and maybe some organ are used to create a dual sound in the right and left channel. "Aegian sea" is a good psychedelic track with narrative and moog.

After that, a couple of experimental tracks that are interesting at first hear but hardly essential. "Marching beast" is a first one with a structure centered around piano, organ and bouzouki. "Do it" is a short furious battle between drums and guitar having bass supporting. "Tribulation" might be a saxophone tribute Canterbury style. "The beast" is a classic late 60's track but released in 1972. "Altamont" has a deep organ or moog sound with a simple motive but numerous instrument changes. "The wedding of the lamb" finally brings again Greek folk music into perspective although retaining experimentation. "Infinity" is an annoying track with orgasm of a woman, that should not be included on a progressive rock effort like this. I can't but skip this track each time. It brings nothing but awkwardness to faces of all listeners.

"Hic et nunc" partly corrects the previous bad impression by offering a user-friendly Beatles-inspired tune with group singing.

The lengthy "All the seats were occupied" starts good as an epic but after turning the half-mark, it gets deteriorated by the questionable mix of the previous songs including the terrible moaning from "Infinity". Thankfully, the jam continues soon showcasing clear guitar tones with moog and percussions.

The last and swang song bears traces of nostalgy but gives some hope at least in the lyrics. Progressive rock goes away for a while and pop-rock with monumental piano chords and clever guitar improvisation. Lucas Sideras vocals suit here well.

Overall, this is certainly a peak of this band's output but some stars are removed because of uncoherence and experimentation that won't appeal with each repeated listening.

 It's Five O'Clock by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.73 | 82 ratings

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

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Another mainly pop oriented effort by Aphrodite's child. Roussos voice and Vangelis keyboards are the main selling points.

The first and title track is a fine ballad with Moog and organ chords, solemn and a bit reminding of "A whiter shade of pale". Vocal is in the foreground of this song.

"Annabella" is another ballad with gentle instrumentation with flute, water flow, but also mighty organ.

"Let me love, let me live" is a hippie repetitive song with good organ improvisation in the background. "Funky Mary" has a Hendrix chaotic vibe to it although without an ingenious guitar. The vocal does not come from Roussos at all. "Good time so fine" has two vocal types by Roussos: rough for the initial phase and the shiny vocal for the chorus part. This is a nice pop song.

"Such a funny night" has a very playful melody, bouzouki and bass. The vocal is almost female in the beginning and descending all the time - an unusual approach.

One of my favourite tracks.

A good pop-oriented album but not much for a progressive mind.

 End Of The World by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.52 | 96 ratings

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End Of The World
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The debug album unusually by a Greek group based in France. The style is progressive pop, not so much of rock. Songs are accessible and some of them catchy. It is the instrumentation that closely resembles a progressive rock ensemble: flutes, organs, piano, harpsichord and other keyboards.

The album starts strongly with "End of the world" and introduces Roussos unusual nose voice and fantastic range. Vangelis provides nice piano and organ arrangements. It sounds warm and Greek to me.

"Don't try to catch a river" is a more British world 70's inspired upbeat song that has organ lines similar to Penny Lane trumpet. "Mister Thomas" is more a "merry-go-round" type of song but still has a memorable harpsichord/cello section. The most famous song by AC, "Rain and tears", is a simple classically influence number with a dominant voice.

"The grass is no green" points to the art rock ambitions of Vangelis and also shows signs of psychedelia, if you isten to the colour of Roussos' voice. Finally, also the bass and drums get into foreground. "Valley of Sadness" is a fine and typical psychedelic song with equal focus on melody and instrumental rhythm section. Vangelis provides organ chords in the right channel and harpsichord in the left. Bouzouki is also heard thanks to Roussos.

"The shepherd and the moon" displays Arabic influence and is a good fire to the already warm music. Notable is muscular bass by Roussos in the outro of the song.

 End of the World by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.13 | 4 ratings

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End of the World
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Besides the hit single 'Rain and Tears', also other songs of the debut album End of the World were released on singles. This is the title track, and it's among the more interesting Aphrodite's Child songs of the pre-666 era. Again I'd make a reference to the classic Moody Blues for the rich and warm soundscape dominated by keyboards creating orchestral nuances. The song is nocturnally atmospheric and has a lot of passion & drama, especially for the emotional vocals of Demis Roussos. Early Barclay James Harvest had songs with a similar feel.

'You Always Stand in My Way' sees the Greek trio rocking hard. Yes, this is actually a heavy rock song! Just change the Moody Blues type of Mellotron-oriented keyboard arsenal to a Hammond, and it could be an obscure Deep Purple song. A curiosity more than a recommendable or representative Aphrodite's Child number.

 Rain and Tears by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.13 | 4 ratings

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Rain and Tears
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Aphrodite's Child were a Paris-based trio of Greek musicians (two of them, singer Demis Roussos and synth maestro Vangelis, later had success as solo artists). In the prog circles they're best remembered for the conceptual double album 666 (released belatedly in 1972), but in the late sixties they made a couple of albums and had some international psych pop hits. Without a doubt the best known is 'Rain and Tears', which still can be heard occasionally from radio. I don't think it's their best 60's song, instead it's very sweet, sentimental and accessible to a big audience. Vangelis' selection of vintage keyboard sounds however makes it pretty listenable to anyone interested in proto prog, and the harpsichord sound gives the song a Baroque pop flavour.

Also the B side song 'Don't Try to Catch a River' was included on the album End of the World (1968). This one's an energetic and rocking psych-era pop song in a fast tempo. Demis Roussos' raspy vocals are backed by high vocal harmonies reminiscent of the early Moody Blues. The song hurries ahead in a very straightforward way without much new details, and for that reason it is quickly worn out. But 'Rain and Tears' has proved to be an evergreen classic, hence three friendly stars for this pop single.

 It's Five O'Clock by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.73 | 82 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Considering all the trials and tribulations that APHRODITE'S CHILD had to endure in leaving their homeland Greece after a right-wing dictatorship commonly known as the Regime Of The Colonels usurped control of their country and forced them to relocate to London to recognize their musical ambitions, not to mention getting stuck in Paris en route during 68's tumultuous riots and unrest, it was utterly amazing that the band found resounding success with their debut album "End Of The World" all throughout the European continent the very same year. Having finally settled in London, the trio of Vangelis Papathanassiou, Demis Roussos and Lucas Sideras wasted no time in recording a followup and with success already achieved with their huge hit ballad "Rain And Tears," the band entered Trident Studios to record the sophomore effort IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK which logically tried to copy the successful formula of the hit singles from their debut album "End Of The World" and tried to Anglicize them by bringing in Richard Francis to write the lyrics and offer a more proper English speaking perspective. The results are a much less impactive statement than the debut, a less cohesive unit and despite clever pop tracks created, ends up sounding like an attempt to mimic UK band styles over developing the interesting menage of musical styles on the debut.

Right from the very first opening title track it's apparent that IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK is a less ambitious and more streamlined pop album that jettisons much of the debut's Greek and Middle Eastern sounds for a more streamlined British approach. The strangest part about this album is that the tracks are so diverse that it often sounds like a various artist compilation than a single band performing. The title track sounds like some straight out of the Procol Harum playbook with moody organs churning out their notable baroque pop and classical influences. The second track "Wake Up" sounds like a totally different band with a pop folk hippie infused consciousness awakening psychedelic pop feel that is drenched in key changes. "Take Your Time" takes yet another direction as it tackles country rock and reminds me most of those Beatles tracks that showcased Ringo Starr on his one song allotment per album as lead singer. "Anabella" is a sappy ballad with heartfelt lyrics, the swishing of tides permeating the background drenched in a keyboard rich snail-paced tempo that is broken by a brief overwrought chorus.

"Let Me Love, Let Me Live" is heavier pop-stomp that sounds more like The Who in full "Pinball Wizard" form and in retrospect shows a slight interest in rock opera greatness although it is far from fulfilled on this brief musical statement. "Funky Mary" takes another 180 as the trio delve into Sly & Family Stone territory with a funky soul rock groove although Roussos sings more like Hendrix, the percussion is fiery with Santana-esque bongos and a jazzy vibraphone provides an unexpected counterpoint. "Good Time So Fine" then jumps into the world of Vaudville as it sounds similar to the good vibe musical format that would become Jesus Christ Superstar. "Marie Jolie" is yet another ballad only sounds more like something from the 50s in an almost Bobby Darrin sort of style only augmented by tribal bongo rhythms and an accordion solo that adds an undeniable Mediterranean cafe feel. Of all the tracks on board, it's the closer "Such A Funny Night" that is probably most like anything of the debut album. Catchy piano grooves, psychedelic Indo-raga sitar and helium induced vocal pitches augmented by flute and sitar trade-offs. Definitely my favorite track and the catchiest that even manages to squeeze in some ragtime piano sounds.

Overall, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK is basically a grab bag of ideas, more like an album of leftover tracks than a bona fide album itself. It seems that Vangelis had sort of a one tracked mind and was obsessed with the apocalypse and end days, which when applied on the debut album and "666," flourished in great progressive fecundity, however with this second album it seems that the band were just going for as much chart topping pop jugulars as they possibly could with the only attention being paid to crafting as many commercial hits as allowed by law with no regard given to the unifying potentials of the album as a whole. Far from a bad collection of tracks, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK does pale in comparison to the more timeless themes of the two albums that sandwich it. Despite the tracks lacking the unified thematic luster of "End Of The World" or not even coming close to the progressively polished sophistication of "666," it still has it's charms and while eternally doomed to be the lesser of APHRODITE'S CHILD's mere three albums, is still a decent psychedelic pop album that displays Vangelis' signature melodic sound coupled with Roussos romantic Mediterranean vocal style that would propel them into hugely successful solo careers in the 70s and beyond.

 End Of The World by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.52 | 96 ratings

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End Of The World
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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

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

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

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

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

 Best Of Aphrodite's Child by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
2.68 | 21 ratings

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

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars A nice bunch of their early tunes!

This compilation album is pretty nice if you don't pre-judge and let your ears be fulfilled by the cool psych-pop tunes that Demis Roussos wrote long, long time ago. I am saying this, because here, as prog lovers, we fell in love with 666, the ultimate masterpiece of this band, but their earlier works don't really have much in common with the so acclaimed 666, which is why I'm warning you.

Once you have open ears and mind, you will really enjoy the sweet voice of Roussos, along with the cool arrangements Vangelis added in this compilation of nice short tracks, in which you will find some folk resemblances, actually Greek traditional folk can be found here, as well as that spicy psychedelia inherent in their music. The pop sound might be also evident in some songs, but believe me, this is a good pop.

Of course, I also prefer (by far) the proggy version of Aphrodite's Child, but I enjoy listening to beautiful songs such as "Rain and Tears", "It's Five o' Clock" or the amazing "Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall". If you would like to know a bit more about their early tunes, this compilation would be great, otherwise, please avoid it.

Enjoy it!

 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 442 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Psych-Folk of the Beast

Last and most ambitious album of APHRODITE'S CHILD, "666" is really an unidentified musical object. Judge by yourself: first of all, it comes from Greece. There are not many important Greek progressive rock opus from the classical 70's decade. Second, despite what its title may suggest, the music is neither heavy metal nor violent, but rather a heterogeneous mixture of mystical, psychedelic / space rock with Greek folklore, jazz and even early electronics! Not really easy to describe. Third, as you probably understood, the band abandons the psych-pop short songs format of the 60's to turn more progressive and esoteric. Finally, this record will be the last from the Greeks, as the line-up was pursuing different objectives. Vangelis wanted to explore unknown spacey musical landscapes, "666" being mainly his baby, whereas Demis Roussos will move towards romantic pop songs. These artistic divergences will unavoidably lead to the split of APHRODITE'S CHILD.

Concerning the curious minimalistic cover, it simply represents a car registration plate.

Now, let's see what this beast is made of.

Disc 1 alternates structured tracks and ambient narration interludes. "The System" is just a short a short spoken opening for the energetic pop rock "Babylon". Despite its title, "Loud, Loud, Loud" is a calm piano narration, followed by the most known passage of the album, "The Four Horsemen". A delicate psychedelic and ethereal song with a crystalline voice. Unique! But now the strangeness really begins. "The Lamb" can be described as a... trippy nervous Greek folk-rock? The slow mystical narration "The Seventh Seal" introduces another little gem, the floydian "Aegian Sea". This aquatic instrumental is just magic, perfect for relaxation. Furthermore, if you listen carefully, you can hear at the end a mesmerizing synthesizer gimmick that will be reused by Jean-Michel Jarre 4 years later in "Oxygne". The spoken ambient "Seven Bowls" and experimental "The Wakening Beast" interludes lead to the incantatory ethnic "Lament", that possesses a slight middle-eastern feel. It abruptly mutates into the more lively but still mystical "The Marching Beast" and its modal jazz touch. In contrast, "The Battle Of The Locusts" and "Do It" are more conventional hard psych rock tracks. Don't worry, surprise comes back with the pure free-jazz "Tribulation". Fun, although quite out of place. The only weak passage of this disc is in fact "The Beast", a little irritating soft rock song. The first part concludes with the shortest track, the odd spoken "Ofis".

Disc 2 is bit more experimental and improvisational. The bizarre narration "Seven Trumpets" introduces the cool psych jazz-rock "Altamont". Then comes "The Wedding Of The Lamb", one of the best tracks. It's not everyday that you hear a mystical ethnic folk with electronic sonorities! Very nice! The tribal spacey "The Capture Of The Beast" continues the dream. Unfortunately appears the ridiculous and disturbing "Infinity", featuring Greek actress Irne Papas at orgasm simulation. "Hic Et Nunc" resembles 60's Londonian psych rock. Enjoyable, but less astonishing than the three first tracks of the disc. The longest track of the album is "All The Seats Were Occupied". These 19 minutes are a sort of mixture of electronics and space rock jam over which are superposed some extracts of the record. For instance, "Ofis" is repeated 3 times, as it only lasts 17 seconds. Fun fact: the opening shares similitudes with TANGERINE DREAM's "Alpha Centauri" and "Atem"! Pleasant, although a bit messy at times. The ender, "Break", is a soft piano song, a little cheesy.

Original, innovative, creative are one of the few words that comes to mind when talking about this nearly indescribable progressive beast. A little lack of coherency, spoken interludes and a few weaker passages are the only negative points that can be found on this unique double-album. Few artists were able to offer such musical variety at the time and unite opposite genres such as rock, folklore, electronics and jazz. "666" may well be one of the first examples of the so-called "World Music". AMON DL II's "Yeti" is based on a comparable mixture of styles, but the trip is however different.

Nevertheless, more than just experimental fusion, the compositions often manage to be very good and groundbreaking. "666" was in fact recorded in 1970 and released 2 years later due to disagreements with the label. Some of the multiple ideas spread all over the record are ahead of their time. After all, you're listening to psych- folk-rock crafted by a future pioneer of electronic music. In case you're wondering, it does neither resemble VANGELIS's solo material nor the band's previous pop songs (nor Demis Roussos'...), nor hardly anything else.

APHRODITE'S CHILD's best and most ambitious album, an unique Greek temple of mysterious and mystical prog! Encountering this Beast is essential for psychedelic / space rock fans, or if you want something original.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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