666 - the album
October 31, 2015 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Released in 1971, 666 is the third and final Aphrodite's Child album, a two record concept concerning the biblical Apocalypse. The singer (now deceased) went on to become this guy. The keyboard maestro went on to become this guy. But the album itself remains one of the creepiest, strangest, best examples of so-called progressive rock ever released. And that [infinity] track featuring Irene Papas on vocals -- that's genuinely terrifying in the right/wrong situation.
posted by philip-random (21 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm looking forward to giving this a listen, though I remain skeptical that it will unseat In the Court of the Crimson King at the top of my progressive rock favorites list.
posted by fairmettle at 11:24 AM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm generally not a prog rock guy, but "The Four Horsemen" rules.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is a cool album, but it is indeed no In the Court of the Crimson King.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:39 AM on October 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I owned this back in the day...discovered it after Rick Wakeman left Yes and there was a rumor some Greek guy was going to take over keyboards. It has its moments but never a favorite. That would come later when 'Heaven and Hell' was released.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:53 AM on October 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I once had a vivid hallucination of the wall in front of me dissolving away and the four horsemen charging through while on an acid trip. My friends wisely turned the album off, but we'd never had anything like that happen with In the Court of the Crimson King.

666 is one of my favorite albums, still. Yes, it's hippy music about the apocalypse made by a bunch of greek guys, but it's both great and self indulgent at the same time. "Loud, Loud, Loud" still gets me every time.

There's an excellent lossless remaster by "Heywood" out there on the internet archive that's worth listening to. It's absolutely better quality than the CD release, and adds back in some of the edits from the LP that they trimmed for the CD. Also it has more clarity to the low end.

Also, as long as we are talking about Aphrodite's Child, you really should hear "End Of The World", because it's a great song.
posted by Catblack at 12:49 PM on October 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


My dad used this album to get break his lease on an apartment.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:09 PM on October 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


It has its moments but never a favorite.

As with many an album from its era, I've found myself mucking around with it some, doing some editing and mixing for various reasons. Here's a sizable chunk of Sides 3+4 (with a bit of Vangelis's solo album Earth also thrown in) that I put together for a recent radio show.
posted by philip-random at 1:10 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't say I really enjoy the music all too much but 666 has one of my favorite album covers to stumble across in used record stores.
posted by item at 1:19 PM on October 31, 2015


the inside spread is worth a look as well
posted by philip-random at 1:22 PM on October 31, 2015


My teenage self LOVED Rain & Tears
posted by growabrain at 1:34 PM on October 31, 2015


The singer (now deceased) went on to become this guy..
So the album carries some kind of terrible curse?
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:47 PM on October 31, 2015


The Ten Most Obscure Rock Operas
(from The Book of Rock Lists, Dave Marsh and James Bernard)
  1. "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera", Keith West: Released in 1967, well before The Who's Tommy kicked off the pop-opera craze . . . captured on a single.
  2. S.F. Sorrow, The Pretty Things: Takes a full album to get across what isn't entirely clear once you've heard it anyway.
  3. A Giant Crab Comes Forth, A Giant Crab: Mystical but dull.
  4. The Golden Scarab, Ray Manzarek: Mystical, ambitious, and dull.
  5. Love Chronicles, Al Stewart: Romantic rather than mystical, but not any less dull.
  6. Keynsham, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: The great comic opera, rock or otherwise. Takes the hot air out of everything from Tommy to Gilbert & Sullivan . . .
  7. 666, Aphrodite's Child: Satanic, mischievous, and dull.
  8. Joe's Garage, Frank Zappa: [T]hough lack[ing] charm and subtlety . . . [is] on the mark often enough to be alternately whimsically hiarious and frightfully prophetic.
  9. The Gift, The Velvet Underground: Macabre . . . brings Edgar Allen Poe into the atomic age, with appropriate sound effects.
  10. Rock | Justice, [ Mike Varney, et al, produced by Marty Balin]: Allegorical, absurd, not terribly listenable. [Good luck with this one . -H]
posted by Herodios at 2:01 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


How is Keynsham a rock opera? I don't follow that - not that I'd ever try to dissuade anyone from listening to it or any other Bonzo music for any reason ever...

On subject though: there are times where I can listen to 666 over and over again. It takes me a while to recover from this and I am in a lull right now - looking forward to the next bout of excess
posted by Golem XIV at 2:08 PM on October 31, 2015


Funny I re-listened to this album about a week ago. Absolutely love this album. The Four Horsemen is the ultimate ear worm for me. I even like Demis Russos Euro disco stuff. I could live without ever hearing Vangelis' later stuff though.

For those wondering how it fits with the pantheon of prog, I'll say this - Continental Prog Rock is a different thing then British and North American Prog. There is a vibe to it that is different. Decadent, emotional, melodramatic. Personally, I like it better than In the Court of the Crimson King. But is it better? No, its just different. As for it being dull, if you find this album dull other than being wrong you might want to give prog rock in general a pass.
posted by Ashwagandha at 2:27 PM on October 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


if you find this album dull other than being wrong you might want to give prog rock in general a pass.

Dave Marsh is probably the one person most responsible for keeping long-eligible prog bands out of the Rock Hall all these years. Dave Marsh is to Progressive Rock as Steve Allen is to Rock'n'Roll. I wouldn't take his word for it here.
 
posted by Herodios at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, this is amazing, I'd never heard of it. Thanks!
posted by wallabear at 1:07 AM on November 1, 2015


I still have my vinyl copy of this from the 1970's. Loved this album then and still do.
posted by lordrunningclam at 6:53 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like Manzarek's album. Dave Marsh is certainly authoritative, but, as has been oft pointed out, so is the barking of a harbor seal.
posted by Chitownfats at 8:34 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem with so-called Progressive Rock is some people just hate it, see no reason for it, see no good that could possibly come from it. Dave Marsh seems to be one of these people. Fair enough. We're all entitled to our opinions and if you can get someone to publish them, more power to you. On the other hand, his pontificating on the topic of prog is akin to me going on about omelettes. A waste of everyone's time, I suspect.
posted by philip-random at 9:29 AM on November 1, 2015


I gave the album a full uninterrupted listen today, and it is undeniably epic prog rock of renowned vintage. (Though I'd be careful about playing it on the office PA system, with that NSFW mid-section.) Thanks OP - - this is the just the bestest surprise present: a double Vangelis album I'd never heard before!
posted by fairmettle at 9:44 AM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's the drugs talking, but I've loved this album since the day I first heard it. Haters can go to... other types of music.
posted by Splunge at 10:37 AM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


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