Review Summary: In one of the first concept albums, you'll find a psychedelic prog masterpiece.
In today's prog music world, massive, grandiose concept albums are about as common as trees in a rain forest, but back in 1971, concept albums were unheard of(literally). It's no surprise that Aphrodite's Child's(the band that Vangelis, the chariots of fire song guy was in originally) massive epic "666: The Apocalypse of John 13/18" is considered a masterpiece by so many prog heads.
Originally released in 1971/1972, it is largely considered one of the first concept albums, it was also never released in the US, even to this day, so its an import in the US.
This album is essentially progressive psychedelia, very trippy music, very layered, sometimes haunting, many times beautiful. This is far and away one of the best prog albums of all time.
The music is a combination of many elements, traditional prog with spacey guitar and keyboards, excellent drumming, etc.. only all of it has a strong psychedelia influence and a very strong eastern influence as well. the guitar work and drumming are real highlights on this one. All of it combines to form one cohesive masterpiece of sound. Most, if not all of the songs will sound spacey/trippy, thats the way the guitars and keyboards work on this album, they make it sound as though you're floating in space watching the world below you.
There are 24 total tracks spanning 2 discs, so it can seem a little daunting, and initially it may seem bloated, but stick with it, you'll enjoy it. There is a mix of straight up prog, straight up psychedelia, and a mix of the both, all teeming with eastern influence.
It follows a story of a circus performing the biblical book of revelations in their big tent, all the while the real apocalypse starts happening outside the tent. This is not known to the circus goers until the real apocalypse starts coming together with the fake one. Much of the lyrical content and song titles take bits straight out of the book of revelation...
The Four Horsemen is about the lamb(christ) opening the seals and letting the four horsemen of the apocalypse into the world.
Infinity, which is nothing more than 5 minutes of female orgasm over a drum beat, represents the whore that seduces the kings.
If you were to listen to this album while reading the book of revelation, they would tie in together. the rise of the antichrist, the second coming of christ, the four horsemen, the battle between christ and the antichrist, the tribulation, etc..
Add to that the fact that the actual apocalypse is going on unknown to the people in the circus tent watching a circus performance of the book of revelation. That is, until the two merge together in "hic and nunc", "all the seats were occupied" and "break".
Overall this album is a must for any fan of prog and/or psychedelia. its layered, diverse, interesting, and amazing. no wonder so many people view this as a cult classic.
Recommended tracks(all are good, but to get a feel for the album):
The Four Horsemen