Sammal – No 2 Review

Reviewed by:
On 2 February 2014
Last modified:2 February 2014


Like a long lost gem from the 70s, this is fantastic hazy prog from Finland.

Retro revivalism is a movement very much in full flow. With Scandinavian acts the likes of Graveyard, Witchcraft and Blues Pills leading the way, the sound of the late 60s and early 70s, with all its hazy vibes and values are being resurrected and dressed with a modern edge. Yet few truly sound like a lost gem from a bygone but very much adored and admired era.

With the aptly titled No 2, Sammal, named after a type of moss, offer a heady concoction of jolting Hammond organs and creamy guitars with a psychedelic swagger on their second musical offering. Succeeding 2013’s self-titled debut, there is, in all something really enjoyable about the light-heartedness of this album, sung in the band’s native tongue. Despite not understanding the lyrics and the meaning of their content, the strength of the music keeps you thoroughly entertained. As we’ve seen from Rammstein, Kvelertak and co., English vocals aren’t an integral ingredient for success. Rather, it gives the EP a somewhat mysterious aura, coupled with the organs and soaring vocals which haunt the tracks therein and you end up finding the whole thing utterly transfixing. With a smile always smeared across its face, you could be mistaken for thinking this was released decades before our modern, technological age.

From the opening salvo of Vankina varisten (which translates to Prisoner of Crows), which bears a strong Focus feel, to the Deep Purple jams of Tuuli kuljettaa and beyond, this is a record wrapped in uniquely nostalgic qualities. Indeed, while their sounds will draw many a comparison to some big names (the Allman Brothers, Budgie, Cream) the resulting package still has an individualistic appeal to it.

Sitar dabblings on Neito maan see the band broadening their sonic horizons evermore as they create huge crescendos from music that sounds raw and heartfelt. It is an honest album. What you hear is 5 men enjoying making the kind of music that turned them on in the first place. There is no intention to reinvent the wheel, nor is there a desire to shock or appease anyone. This is music straight from the hearts and souls of the musicians that made it; and that is what makes it so special. When the band get lost in the jams, swept away by the rhythm section’s trippy grooves, you do to. Music is oft utilized for its pure escapism and this is a fine example of just that.

Its length may leave you craving a little more but at the same time it doesn’t stick around long enough for your attention to wane or for their party tricks to become monotonously predictable. It takes you down a road of denim and leather in a wham-bam-thank-you-mam manner, leaving an entertained and enthralled listener at the other end. I thoroughly recommended you take the journey too.

Like a long lost gem from the 70s, this is fantastic hazy prog from Finland.

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.