With concept albums all the rage in ’72, it was a beardy bunch from Greece who raised the bar impossibly high that year with four sides of far-out freakery, soundtracking a circus show in the midst of a religious apocalypse; a rock opera based on the Bible’s Revelation 13:18.
Finding star quality in Demis Roussos’s bleaty vibrato and keyboard ace Vangelis’s ambitious arrangements, it’s arguably Greece’s finest musical moment (apologies to Nana Mouskouri). Subversive, suggestive and just plain weird, its cult standing is well deserved.
Starting with a “fuck the system” intro, tape loops, grandiloquent narration and plenty of salep-fuelled jazz-rock à la Mahavishnu Orchestra saturate 666’s deep Vertigo groove mix. The pinnacle is the mystical psych-out The Four Horsemen, and as the battle between good and evil intensifies, a literal climax is reached via actress Irene Papas’s outrageously orgasmic performance on the track that got 666 banned, ∞.
Reissued as part of Universal’s latest Prog Rocks! campaign, handling the 180-gram disc is as satisfying as hearing the smooth, warm pressing. One teeny niggle though: those ubiquitous cheap inner sleeves. If the Devil’s getting the best tunes, give him the best packaging too./o:p