Biscaya 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 palate. 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+