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Sammal - Suuliekki CD (album) cover

SUULIEKKI

Sammal

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.96 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 229

Sammal is a progressive rock band from the peninsula of Scandinavia, from Finland. The band is settled in the Finnish port city of Turku. Sammal has been committed to retro prog sounds since their foundation around the year 2010, which, contrary to the supraregional trend of their homeland and the adjoining Scandinavian countries, doesn't so much serve the symphonic prog, but instead relies on the rich 70's heritage, called jazz, hard and psychedelic rock. So far, Sammal have released a self-titled debut studio album in 2013, an EP titled "Nš 2" in 2014, a second studio album called "Myrskyvaroitus" in the following year and a third studio album with the name of "Suuliekki", three years later.

Although I always was a big fan of the progressive rock coming from Scandinavia, mainly because Kaipa, The Flower Kings, Anglagard, Anekdoten, Pain Of Salvation and Opeth, only to mention some of them, I must confess that this band, despite has already released three albums, has completely escaped from my radar, until some months ago.

All began when in May of 2018 when I participated in a prog tourney that usually happens every year. This tourney has the purpose that sixteen contestants can choose sixteen prog albums almost unknown. The final objective is that in the end there is a winner album, after the elimination, round by round, of all the other participants. One of the contestants chose precisely "Suuliekki", the third studio album of Sammal. So, it was in this context that I made my first contact with this band. However, at the time, I was convinced that "Suuliekki" was the debut album of Sammal. It was only when I saw that this band was added to Progarchives that I became aware of the existence of the two previous studio albums. Since I never had heard to talk of this band, I decided to take a look to Progarchives to see some information about them. Still, I saw that they hadn't been already added to this site. As I liked very much of "Suuliekki", in June of 2018 I decided to propose the addition of Sammal to Progarchives. When I contacted siLLy puPPy, he told me that he would suggest them to the "psych team". Sammal was accepted and added to Progarchives, but I only saw it few weeks ago.

So, once that Sammal was added to Progarchives, in part due to me and because I liked very much of "Suuliekki", it seems to me perfectly normal and especially a kind of an obligation, to be the first one to review this album on this site. However, I must confess that I'm very pleased because this isn't the first review of this band, really. Matti had already done the same with their second album "Myrskyvaroitus". And I must confess that he did a great job on that review.

The band state that they devoted more time collecting new song material and incorporating new ideas into the songwriting prior to releasing "Suuliekki". However, I'm not familiar with Sammal's earlier two works to fully assess that statement and to recognize substantial differences. But, according to them, it seems that the music changed a bit.

Each song on the album comes across as a healthy blend of structure and improvisation. There's also a consistent sense of fun and adventure all over the album. The material isn't quite improvised, but it definitely isn't overdone. As I listen to this album, I can almost hear the band trying out different ideas and seeing how they play with everyone else. Fortunately, they work really well. Each track is lively and fresh in ways that reminded me of fun and exciting 70's rock.

I had to rack my brains to come up with suitable comparisons with respect to Sammal's music. Whilst this is also owing to my scarce knowledge of the Finnish progressive rock scene, it certainly is due to a large extent to Sammal's originality. Their music by and large lacks the moody, dark and melancholic atmosphere, the stringency and the seriousness sometimes displayed by many Scandinavian bands such as Anglagard and Anekdoten. Instead, it's rather laid-back, upbeat and here and there comes across with a wink. There are hints of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple for the more hard rock-oriented songs mentioned above. I can also see much psychedelic/space rock music, and it comes to my mind Hawkwind. In reality, there's a bit of everything in "Suulliekki", without the music becoming incoherent, really.

Conclusion: As I mentioned before, I was deeply impressed by the originality and the quality of "Suuliekki". This is, really, a very good and nice album, a truly great surprise for me. I think we can say that we are in presence of a very honest and interesting proposal. But above all, I think the band has much potential to be developed. This is a band with strong influences of the hard rock and the psychedelic/space rock music, indeed. Listeners familiar with the bands mentioned above by me, will recognize their influences, but will be provided with something discrete, not with a mere clone. I hope that with this release, Sammal will step out of what I believe is still a small circle of insiders. They surely would deserve to be known by a wider audience. We'll see it in the future. I'm very curious about the development of this band, really. Meanwhile, soon as I've time and opportunity I'm also very curious and interested to check their two first studio albums. Definitely, here we are in presence of great prog music. I think Sammal deserves to be checked.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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