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Biscaya - 1983 Biscaya



ARTIST: Biscaya
ALBUM: Biscaya
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: RCA PK 70034
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1996, RCA/BMG, BVCP-7451

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Mats Clausen - lead & backing vocals * Par Edwardsson - guitars & backing vocals * Hans Johansson - bass & backing vocals * Magnus Stromberg - keyboards & backing vocals * Birger Loefman - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Howl In The Sky * 02 Fools * 03 Summerlove * 04 Weekend * 05 Biscaya * 06 Singing In Harmony * 07 Sunrise * 08 Walls * 09 Divine Lady Of Warmth * 10 Rockin' Vehicles * 11 Hit It Hard (bonus) * 12 Space Bop (bonus) * 13 Swinging To A Melody (bonus) * 14 Greg's Song (bonus)


Background
Here's another reminder of just how diverse the Swedish metal scene was in the 1980s. Biscaya hailed from Goteborg; Sweden's second largest city situated on the country's west coast and played a classically infused progressive hard rock. The group's origins are not well-documented although we know through the magic of the Internet future Silver Mountain/Yngwie Malmsteen keyboard player Mats Olausson was once a member and drummer Birger Loefman later appeared in the not-so great metal band Destiny. Two records on RCA, the debut saw reissue on CD in 1996 although their second release 'On 45' came in the form of a four-track EP and is the most frustratingly elusive of the pair to track down.


The Songs
You could hardly accuse Biscaya of shying away from the unusual as the band run a gamut of styles from the pedal-to-the-metal of 'Howl In The Sky' and the galloping Deep Purple-ish 'Fools' to the pastoral, almost Enid-like instrumental 'Biscaya' which is gorgeous beyond words. At this stage of the game its apparent keyboardist Magnus Stromberg was the star of this show recalling both Jon Lord and journeyman Paul Raymond although never at the same time of course and while Biscaya's flirtations with both Rainbow and Queen almost always win me over, there are a couple duds scattered about, including the gruesome party metal of 'Sing In Harmony' and is one ugly mess. Metal or prog, Biscaya couldn't decide it seems although the music holds together rather well considering all the yin-yang going on and with the mid-tempo crackle of 'Walls' as well as the Spanish influenced acoustic workout 'Divine Lady Of Warmth'; it's easier to appreciate the lads from Goteborg for pushing the boundaries, not always succeeding but still creating a remarkably coherent record.


In Summary
I'm not sure how much Biscaya toured if at all, although I would love to get my hands on the follow-up EP. One final connection, guitarist Par Edwardsson went on to produce CD's from Swedish bands Human Race and M.ILL.ION as well as releasing a quirky power pop disc on his own.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on March 18 2016 20:29:57
I remember having this album on vinyl. In fact I'm not sure if I still have it in storage, but I finally got my hands on the Japanese CD reissue with the four bonus tracks taken from the 'On 45' EP which had, like Eric, long eluded me on vinyl. This band were just superb in every department.
 
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