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Sammal: No 2

Svart Records has been releasing some very intriguing albums of late that cross multiple genres, and this latest from Finnish band Sammal is no exception. No 2, as you can probably guess, is the bands second release, and it's an exciting collection of heavy hitting progressive rock filled with blistering organ & guitar passages for any fan of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, ELP, and Atomic Rooster. As you can see by the song titles, all the lyrics are sung in their native tongue, but don't let that immediately take you out of the equation, as there is some stellar stuff going on here musically and the Finnish vocals are actually quite powerful. "Vankina varisten" is a complete throwback to MkI era Deep Purple, complete with Lord vs. Blackmore styled Hammond/guitar exchanges, while " Tuuli kuljettaa" starts off as an almost folk based piece before lumbering into a heavy rocking prog epic with Hammond soaked passages that will be a smile to the face of any Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Ken Hensley, or Vincent Crane fan. "Neito maan" recalls the Italian greats like PFM or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, and " Tähdelle kuolemaan" dives in and out of Heep's The Magicians Birthday and Purple's Stormbringer styled heavy rock, again with those wonderful vocal harmonies soaring above swirling Hammond organ and effective hard rock riffs. There's also the raging "Peilin taikaa", which is actually a cover of Aphrodite's Child's "Magic Mirror.

This is amazing stuff, and it's just a shame that it's barely EP length as you are really left wanting more. The band states that this is more a set of old demo songs cleared out of the closet and re-recorded along with a few newer tunes, so it sounds like No 2 is really a bridge to the next full length album. Though the Finnish vocals for some might be a barrier, the truth of the matter is that the vocals are fantastic, but it would be really interesting to see if Sammal in the future decide to utilize English to perhaps reach a broader audience. Good stuff nonetheless.


Track Listing
1) Vankina varisten
2) Peilin taikaa
3) Tuuli kuljettaa
4) Neito maan
5) Tähdelle kuolemaan

Added: April 11th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1741
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sammal: No 2
Posted by Dean Pedley, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-04-11 11:33:15
My Score:

With influences cited from diverse names Camel, Focus, Captain Beyond, Opeth and Mercyful Fate Sammal present an intriguing proposition. The Finnish retro-rockers latest EP is No 2 and it offers some heavily keyboard driven insistent groove rockers that will be lapped up by fans of all the aforementioned artists and many more besides. Atomic Rooster are another name that spring immediately to mind and the late Vincent Crane was of course a true exponent of the warm, organic, Hammond sound that is the bedrock of Sammal's sound. The lyrics are in the native tongue although this is not really an issue as the songs are driven along by the powerful and warm instrumentation although if the band truly does have ambitions to be heard outside of Scandinavia it will prove one of the challenges that lie ahead.

There is a definite feel good factor about the overall vibe across the five tracks. Unlike another band that is influenced by the same era – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Sammal are more about sunny days as opposed to chilly nights and No 2 really does leave the listener wanting to hear much more.



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