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EXPLOIT

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Exploit biography
Exploit were a little known 3 piece band from Rome that only released an ultrarare album, Crisi, for the small label CGO. Another of those minor albums with two different faces, A side containing a long three-part suite, while the B side contains six commercial pop songs, four of which were also released on the band's singles. While these songs are rather dull and inconsistent, the side-long Crisi, composed by three parts, has very interesting moments with the keyboards of Crivelli being the lead instrument with some ELP and Le Orme influences. One of the three parts of the suite is sung in English, rest in Italian.




Discography:
Cristi, studio album (1972)

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CrisiCrisi
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Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$95.00
Exploit - No Harm EP - Mutex Recordings - MUX002Exploit - No Harm EP - Mutex Recordings - MUX002
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3.25 | 13 ratings
Crisi
1972

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EXPLOIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crisi by EXPLOIT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.25 | 13 ratings

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Crisi
Exploit Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars List in the catalogue of 70's Italian one-shot bands this prog trio from Rome.Exploit consisted of Carlo Crivelli on keyboards/vocals, Enzo Cutuli on bass/vocals and Aldo Pignanelli on drums.Heavily influenced by bands like E.L.P.,THE NICE and LE ORME they released their sole album ''Crisi'' in 1972 on the tiny CGO label in a limited number of copies, fortunately the album was re-issued by Mellow Records in the 90's.

Like EIK's ''Speglun'' album,this is a complete Dr. Jekyl and Mr.Hyde release with one side dominated by a 20-min. three-part prog suite,while the other contains six very short pop tracks.Speaking about the suite,this one is tightly constructed and built around Crivelli's keyboards with long Hammond organ solos and some great piano throughout,obviously influenced by Baroque Music as LE ORME with also light psychedelic influences like in the case of GLI ALLUMINOGENI or THE NICE,while the vocals are very expressive though not outstanding,a very nice opus overall though a bit dated.The flipside,as mentioned, is totally sacrified to the farewell style of Italian 60's Psychedelic-Pop-Rock with good use of organ and plenty of vocals,decent attempts to say the least but far from the band's opening approach.Four out of the six made it to a couple of singles the same year.

Exploit released another English-sung single in 1973 entitled ''The Green's Man / Hot Mexico Road'' but soon disbanded with no further information about any participation of its members in music groups for the upcoming years.Despite the poppy side of the album,''Crisi'' deserves a warm recommendation for its well-structured and executed side-long suite,while the six short Pop Rock tunes are not bad at all.Another fine Italian obscurity.

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 Crisi by EXPLOIT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.25 | 13 ratings

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Crisi
Exploit Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Forgotten Gem

The year is 1972, Prog Rock is still in diapers specially in ITALY, where most of the people was so impressed with GENESIS, that became their first main influence, but at the same time an unknown power trio called EXPLOIT was releasing their first and only album called "Crrisi", a release that I discovered recently when getting information for an article and immediately loved.

Being a keyboard, bass and drum trio, it's most likely to believe that ELP must have had some influence in them, and when you listen this album for the first time the supposition becomes more than obvious (At least in side "A"), but as in most Italian Symphonic bands, they mix this influence with their own unique melodic sound that softens the rigid and strong sound of ELP.

The keyboardist Carlo Crivelli (who also sings), is a real virtuoso with the organ and unlike Keith Emerson, he adds some hints of late Psychedelia to make the combo richer. It's also quite interesting that he sings some tracks in Italian and others in English with a strong accent, but the important issue is that the guy has an excellent range that is somewhere between Jim Morrison and Aldo Tagliapietra singing of course much better in his native language.

The bass an drums in charge of Enzo Cutuli and Aldo Pignatelli are simply powerful (well this is the least yo can expect from a Power Trio) and have a transcendental role in the sound of the band, specially because Pignatelli's timing is impeccable.

Unusually for a debutante band, the album starts with a 20 minutes epic called "Crisi Suite" and is divided in three parts (Speranza, Crisi and Pazzia) taking all side A and it's simply breathtaking. I always believed that ELP and the bands that follow their style are obsessed with the late Romantic and early Modern, classical eras, but CRISI is much closer to late Baroque and early Classical era, making their sound much more melodic than I expected. A great opener for a great album.

Now comes the real surprise, side "B" seems like performed by a different band, because it consists of six shorter tracks with a radically different sound, here they leave ELP and play some sort of late Psychedelia as in "Anche Se Ho Sbagliato" with a killer Hammond performance, blues oriented like in "Un Bambino" or simply experimental as L'Anima Nuda", that reminds me more of KING CRIMSON with a frenetic guitar than of any other band.

Despite the hints of Italian POP in "Giochiamo Insieme" and "La Tua Pelle Scotta", the band always takes good care to keep an interesting and adventurous sound, even when they perform a couple simpler songs.

I simply can't believe that such an excellent band wasn't able to release a second album, but more surprised that "Crisi" remains so unknown for most Prog fans, including some of the best informed.

Four stars for an excellent album that doesn't deserve to fall into oblivion as it has for several decades.

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 Crisi by EXPLOIT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.25 | 13 ratings

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Crisi
Exploit Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jimmy_row

3 stars Right here, my friends, we have empirical evidence that the Italian prog movement is indeed a bottomless pit, or at least as deep as the Pacific trenches. I guess that makes "Crisi" one of those bristlefish you'd find near the bottom. I still have the feeling that there's more below, but this record is pretty darn obscure. Collectors have estimated that the vinyl pressings of this are among the rarest from the era, and fittingly, little is known about the musicians who played on it. From what is known, Exploit consisted of three session musicians who left behind this curio as an artifact of the '70s Italian scene and then disappeared at some point down the line. As Jim (Finnforest) says, these guys weren't into playing live, which is a clear reason why they wouldn't reach popularity being that the festival circuit was essential for bands here. The album is a hodge-podge, consisting of a suite in three movements filling the first half, followed by six singles and b-sides. Apparently two more singles were recorded the following year but haven't been re-issued.

Okay, so how about the music? To put it simply: if you're not down with the Italian scene in general, you won't likely be into this record. And even so, it is quite average, mediocre, what have you; but not to say that there aren't strong points because Crisi is definitely not a dry run the whole way through- the listener won't be bored here, just underwhelmed to an extent. There is little variety in the instrumentation, but the band squeezes as much as possible out of their limited arsenal which consisted of a small keyboard setup plus bass and drums. There is no guitar on the long suite. Carlo Crivelli seems to be the leader- he is responsible for the keyboard sounds that saturate the record, as well as lead vocals. Enzo Cutuli on bass, and Aldo Pignanelli on drums are more than competent in support- these guys had a ton of potential. I wouldn't be surprised if the first side was nailed in one take, which is impressive but there are obvious flaws that could have been ironed out. The result is a very composed feel (heavy orientation toward classical/symphonic), but juxtaposed by a laid-back approach- quick sketches on a white background, if you will, a reflection of the cover art as Jim put it. The most notable influences that I can see are early Orme and a touch of the Trolls, as well as The Doors, and most obviously, The Nice. As one may guess from these influences, the approach is two or three years behind the times so to speak, being a transition between jammy psychadelic bits and a more refined classical approach.

From the opening notes, it is apparent that Crivelli is one hell of a player, but will bite off more than he can chew over the next 20 plus minutes. He relies almost exclusively on a thin, yet glossy organ tone that is probably overstretched, even though he manages to manipulate several decent sounds out of it. The bass is "up" in the mix and sometimes rises to the top; Cutuli plays it with adept precision and even wanders off on his own tangent in the background at times; to these ears he sounds very similar to Bob Callero of Il Volo and Osage Tribe among others. Actually now that I have the music playing . . . woa, that bass-playing is top notch! Crivelli's vocals are strong, but he tries to sing in English and Italian, and as usual, the English vocals are a pitfall due to the heavy accent and butchered grammar. But complaints aside, the vocal approach is very good and compliments the shifts into darker territory when necessary- my best reference point would be somewhere between Osanna and Jim Morrison (hey, you can't say I'm not trying here!). My favorite parts include the dramatic harpsichord riff that opens the second movement, and the crafty drum solo that opens the third. The first two sections, "Speranza" and "Crisi" are, in my opinion, stronger than the third, "Pazzia" which begins to fizzle out halfway through when the English vox return coupled with an over-ambitious theme that sounds hilarious given the lyrics that accompany (Pholas Dactylus, eat your heart out!). But regardless, this piece isn't half bad, especially for an "epic". As for the shorter songs that make up the second half: they will be a matter of taste and are basically hit or miss. Personally, I like a couple of them as much as the first part, because that bass sound is still there (albeit slightly calmer) and guitar is added . . . oh and the songs are catchy as hell. But that's coming from someone who likes this style of "beat-pop" in general.

With regard to the rating, I'm stuck between two and three stars. I like the music, but there are tons of other bands to explore before Exploit, even within RPI- in that respect it is firmly in the collectors/fans corner. But I think the tentative quality of this record speaks too much for the depth of the period it represents, and I flat out like it, warts and all.

PA rating: 2.5, rounded to 3

The Jimmy Row Factor: 6/10, with a generous C-

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 Crisi by EXPLOIT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.25 | 13 ratings

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Crisi
Exploit Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Early Italian prog rarity

Expoit were a threesome from Rome who released this very rare title "Crisi" on a small label called CGO. The album had a very small pressing and original went for big dollars among collectors over the years. Thankfully the fine folks at Mellow reissued this in 1994 as MMP-189. The available information on these guys is scarce but I will share what I was able to find. Apparently they were a "ghost" group of studio cats who played on material for others but didn't like playing live in public. This, their only album, is hailed by Italianprog as being "ELP and Orme" influenced while the Barotto's wonderful "Italian Pop" book mentions The Trip and also Garybaldi as additional reference points. What I find notable about "Crisi" is contrasts in the style and performance, and the time frame. Notice this album was released in 1972 so this is an early entry on the scene, right there with some of the initial heavy hitters before the peak in '73. The side-long title suite, while more on the conventional side in terms of sounds, was anything but in the attacking performance. They employ only keys, bass, drums, and a few vocals. No guitars, no flute, no orchestration, and no period weirdness. But they take those minimal conventional weapons and they attack with their performance to great satisfaction. While far from the greatest compositional masterpiece I've ever heard, I really loved the Crisi sound which is simple yet muscular, laid-back yet loaded with attitude. The bit about them being studio cats who didn't care for the stage makes sense after hearing them. These guys enjoy ripping it up, and likely just decided to lay it down on tape noticing the Italian scene starting to explode around them. Last, I just love the cover art which again speaks to the character of the music. Simple but creative line drawings: three depicting our characters as street musicians playing for a dime, and one inside showing a drink later at the pub. That's it, nothing else. Exploit's unique early sound is captured for the annals of Italian music and yet they remain the mystery which I'm guessing that they might just enjoy.

The Crisi suite! Part 1 "Speranza" features a dramatic opening with organ and huge bass sound in a sort of boom-boom march. Then it loosens up with the drumming getting really tasty, lots of wild fills and jazzy play. At 2 minutes the piano joins the organ and they play off each other in different channels with the rhythm section tight. Halfway through the vocals come in and sadly they are in English (though they sing both English and Italian later.) The quality of the vocals is not the greatest but they are certainly decent enough. After a verse they let tear with fast jazzy passages of bass and organ, and they just keep shifting things subtlety to keep them interesting. There are a few slower parts where a certain dreaminess pervades the track and I enjoy that feeling. Part 2 "Crisi" starts with a frisky as hell keyboard opening leading into the vocal portion that is in Italian and much the better for it. I have trouble deciding who this guy sounds like but he does a nice job. Between the verses we have more great competitive workouts between the agile bass, crisp drum work and keys. Part 3 "Pazzia" is a bit of a change-up opening with a drum solo. For 90 seconds Aldo Pignanelli takes his crack at music history as he lets rip with a tight and controlled drum solo, in particular I like the sound of his snare. After that the others return and drive things to another raucous state before they lay back for another vocal, slipping back to English again in this third act. Side 2 of this album consists of six conventional pop/rock singles. The are the kind of songs you will hear added as bonus tracks at the end of many classic Italian CD reissues. You know the kind of song.they want to entice your wallet so they throw on a couple early or post peak singles at the end as "bonus" tracks. In this case, since Exploit made only one-half of a magnum opus, those singles have been used to fill up side 2. There's nothing particularly wrong with them, they're nice to listen to featuring the same quality performances and some nice typical Italian pop. It's just that the material here is predictable 3 minute track with verse and chorus. Some guitar and female harmonies are present on side 2.

So, despite this really being half an album from the progger standpoint, I do recommend Exploit to Italian fans for sure, and even to others who might appreciate an organ-heavy, somewhat jazzy 20 minute jam with great drums and bass. Four solid stars for the Crisi-suite but side two drags the overall rating down to a 3.

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