Sammal: Sammal

Rustic, evocative Finns refine the art of retro rock

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Hot on the heels of the Seremonia debut comes another mysterious gang of time-travelling Finns singing in their own language over scrupulously 1969 basement freakout vibes.

But Sammal (a type of moss) are less about haunting experimental weirdness and more about languid summery grooving, with sweet Hammond organ chirruping over crafty undistorted chords and swinging beats like Humble Pie or Fuzzy Duck or, more pertinently, original FInnish hippie pioneers Elonkorjuu or Finnforest. Occasionally the haze of patchouli subsides for the odd sneaky doom riff or NWOBHM gallop, but this has the appealing effect of a band lurching through time and space.

Somnolently meandering through light and shade like a forest stream, with an uncompromising air of mystique and exoticism guaranteed by quirky Finnish vocals, we may be deluged with pseudo-Age Of Aquarius private-pressing pastiches these days but Sammal is among the most eerily authentic and tasteful, an impressive, obsessive rendering of 45-year-old dynamics across a set of beguiling and timeless rock melodies.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.