Rob Walker    17-May-2001 Overview

Guitarist Randy Graves and keyboardist Michael Stout first met in Provo, Utah in the fall of 1981. Lacking equipment and practice space, but sharing common musical goals, they began a collaboration under the name Procyon's Demise. Michael's brother Gary eventually joined in on percussion, and they recorded and released a short two-song cassette. As working professionals they had little time for live performances and consequently remained essentially a part-time recording project, slowly accumulating more material. By 1985, they had evolved into the band Kalaban and put together enough music to release a full-length cassette entitled Don't Panic. Though it received minimal local exposure and support in the US, a bootlegged copy of Don't Panic made its way to South America, then on to MoonChild magazine in Spain, where a copy was ultimately sent to Marquee magazine in Japan. Impressed with the cassette, Marquee contacted SynPhonic in Los Angeles to try to find out more about Kalaban. Greg Walker of SynPhonic eventually contacted Randy Graves, and arrangements were made to partially re-record Don't Panic. The resulting album was released on SynPhonic in 1989 on vinyl and in 1991 on CD.

With favorable reviews of their first album, Kalaban headed back into the studio with new bassist Kent Underwood to record new material. These sessions produced their second album, Resistance Is Useless, which was released by SynPhonic in May of 1993. The success of the two releases brought the band a growing following in Europe and numerous live performances in the Western US. The five members of Kalaban maintain their respective professional careers and enjoy their musical freedom as part-time musicians.

(originally reviewed as part of Progfest '94 Preview, Exposť #5, p. 12, Edited for Gnosis 5/11/01)

Peter Thelen    24-March-2001 Resistance is Useless

The second release by this Utah-based five piece is a major step forward from their 1990 debut Don't Panic. They have produced an outstanding album that is at once very forward looking, while also being reasonably accessible. The key to Kalaban's sound lies primarily in the dynamics between keys man Michael Stout and guitarist Randy Graves, with strong and precise backing from the rhythm section. The sound travels between heavy, spacy and moody segments, well arranged and full of energy and atmosphere, into freewheeling jams that border on edgy. Only two of the album's five tracks feature vocalist David Thomas, who offers the perspective of accessibility; too much accessibility if you ask me - he should be crooning in some Tears for Fears style pop band. Even given that, the two numbers he appears in are first and foremost instrumental tracks. In summary, this is an album that must be heard to be appreciated, not without flaws mind you, but definitely shows that Kalaban are major players in the 90's progressive scene.

(Originally published in Exposť #1, p. 7, Edited for Gnosis 1/21/01)

Links for further information