Sammal
Suuliekki


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (166 Reviews)
March 15th, 2021 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An unpretentious and accessible sounding album. This is another interesting Scandinavian proposal.

“Suuliekki” is the third studio album of Sammal which was released in 2018. The line up on the album is Jan-Erik Kiviniemi, Jura Salmi, Juhani Laine, Lasse Ilano and Tuomas Karivaara.


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 “Nº 2” in 2014, a second studio album “Myrskyvaroitus” in the following year and a third album with the name of “Suuliekki” was made three years later.

In spite of I always have been a big fan of the prog rock that comes from Scandinavia, mainly due to 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, had completely escaped from my radar, until some months ago.

All began when in May of 2018 when I participated in a prog tourney here on Sputnik, a tourney organised by our friend Fryday 13th, which usually happens every year, that I met contact with this band and album. For those who don’t know it, this tourney has the purpose that sixteen contestants can choose sixteen prog rock albums almost unknown. Those albums can’t have more than thirty ratings on Sputnik. 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, as I mentioned before, it was in this context that I made my first contact with this band. Still, at the time, I was convinced that “Suuliekki” was their debut album. But as I said before, I was really wrong.

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. Folky elements inherent in many other Scandinavian bands’ works are less present here. Instead, Sammal’s songs sometimes are symphonic and melodic. I don’t understand a single word of the lyrics, but the voice of Janu Kiviniemi perfectly suits the music and both intonation and melody merge for an overall harmonious impression and I like it.

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. The more I listened to the album, the more I liked it. It’s unpretentious, natural and accessible. It whets my appetite for more.


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 nice prog music. I think Sammal deserves to be checked.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (17)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
March 15th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

To conclude my short journey through the Scandinavian countries, here it is a Finish band, Sammal.

Sammal released three albums till now, their eponymous debut in 2013, "Myrskyvaroitus" in 2015 and "Suuliekki" in 2018, the object of my review. Sammal plays a retro oriented prog music with psychedelic, jazz and heavy ingredients. About their style, think in Uriah Heep and Deep Purple with a Hawkwind like psychedelic feel, not forgetting the Finnish/Scandinavian classic prog rock flair.

Maybe not as good as Wobbler and Gosta Berlings Saga they're still a very interesting band very little known even in the prog circles. I hope you like them.

Digging: Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2021


9100 Comments


Before you depart from the Scandinavian peninsula (sic), you should really check out Malady from Finland.

Digging: Vision Video - Inked in Red

e210013
March 15th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the tip. I'm going to do that. Thanks pal.

Jethro42
March 15th 2021


16347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Voivod; I only know Malady by their name, but since Jordsjo is mentioned as a similar band, I'll definitely try it soon.

@e21, I see you reviewed another album which was a candidate to a Friday's tournament. Gonna relisten to the album and read your review later today. By the way, Jordsjo is similar to Anglagard mixed with Sinkadus, so check them out too.

e210013
March 15th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok, my friend. You're always welcome to read and comment my reviews, as you know, Jethro.

And yeah, another one from Friday's. I think his tournaments are great and many of the stuff on them are great and deserve to be better known. And more will come very soon.

So, it seems that I need to join another band in my list. If Jordsjo is similar to Anglagard I surelly need to check them.

Thanks for this precious info bro.

Jethro42
March 15th 2021


16347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You're welcome, e21.



Voivod, thanks to garnish the site with so many prog rockers to the database.

e210013
March 15th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree. My thanks to you too Voivod.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2021


9100 Comments


^^Don't mention it guys :-)

Jethro42
March 15th 2021


16347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ahah Voivod...You're the nicest sput staff. Is this better that way..?

TheIntruder
March 16th 2021


512 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah it is true. Another one from Friday's tournaments. Nice to see you reviewing so many of those albums. Many are great and this is one of those cases. Nice review too. So, have a pos.

e210013
March 16th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks pal. You're right. Many are great unknown works. They deserve be better known and I'm trying to do so.

Jethro42
March 16th 2021


16347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the album to a lesser extent than you guys. Too simplistic for my taste. I like my prog to be more challenging, more bombastic at some point. Sammal is not that much prog. It's more like warm psychedelic rock stuff. Really warm for Scandinavian stuff, and it's a good thing.

Good review, but I would remove or at least reduce the part you talk about the tournament rules. Talk about it on the thread instead. A reviewer should try not talking too much about himself while writing a review, and concentrate talking about the album. The reader is mostly interested to it. It's my two cents, my friend.

Jethro42
March 16th 2021


16347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Look at your shoutbox, bro.

e210013
March 16th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the comment bro. You know that I usually don't do that. But, somehow, in this case, I decided to do it. I know that many people here think that we may have a very personal approach. I never thought that. I think my personal opinion must be said but what really important are the authors, the creators. For important that is our opinion, it will be always very subjective, a mere point of view. And, after all, our opinion is only a mater of taste, isn't it?

Again thanks for your comment. I never consider it as an offensive thing. I always liked of the read positive critics from the persons.

Jethro42
March 17th 2021


16347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You are free to do what you want, bro. My point is that I heard from several staff reviewer that we have to try avoiding to speak about ourself (personnal experience and all) when writing. It's not an obligatory thing of course, but it makes look a review more professional. You already have the comment section to write personnal things.

farmerobama
March 18th 2021


427 Comments


Nice review, have a pos!

Digging: Motorpsycho - Kingdom of Oblivion

e210013
March 18th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks farmer. Nice to see you around here.

e210013
March 18th 2021


3246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok Jethro. Now I can see the point. Thanks for the tip.



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