Biscaya – “Biscaya” (1983)

BiscayaBiscaya was a highly skilled rock band from Sweden that chose to be heavy only part-time.  This eponymous debut (RCA Records) contains a cornucopia of musical styles, making it an exciting album for fans with an open mind and a broad musical pallet.  However, those looking strictly for hard rock and metal (like me, usually) may find this album only partially useful.

From top to bottom, Biscaya was a truly talented and adventurous band.  All five members got a chance to show off their finely honed skills on the album.  Biscaya begins with its heaviest cut first, Howl In The Sky.  This is a speedy track with an intense keyboard/guitar solo.  Had Biscaya chosen to stay with this type of a progressive metal alloy throughout the album, we may have had a metal classic on our hands!  Track two also brings with it a touch of the heavy.  The excellent Fools sounds like it could have easily been on Silver Mountain’s Universe album (released two years later!).  This is a high caliber slab of neo-classical, keyboard infused metal.  After the first two cuts, things start getting a bit weird.  Track three, Summerlove, is a rather sleepy ballad, and track four is an infectious, poppy rocker called Weekend.  I actually really love this tune!  Next up is an instrumental orchestral score titled Biscaya – a very curious choice indeed (I usually skip this one).  Singing In Harmony follows, another happy, up-beat pop-rock tune.  On the surface, Singing In Harmony may seem a bit silly, but repeated listens reveal it to be quite a complex construct.  I don’t love the song (in fact, I usually skip it also), but again, full marks to Biscaya for their daring nature.  Sunrise is next, a nice mid-paced rock tune with plenty of those now-familiar keyboard accoutrements.  Walls is a strong ballad (better than Summerlove) and Divine Layer Of Warmth is an acoustic instrumental.  The album closes with Rockin’ Vehicles, a quick footed hard rocker with the cool lyric “don’t let the bastards get you!”.  (Don’t worry Biscaya, I won’t!)  I guess Biscaya were just kind of in their own world on this album.  Quirky?  Yes.  Skilled?  Absolutely.  A good album?  After a few listens… yeah, I think so.  My score: B+  

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