Sammale – Sammale (Review)

Sammale - SammaleThis is the debut album from Finnish one-man black metal act Sammale.

Brought to us by a member of Marrasmieli, Sammale contains 32 minutes of atmospheric folk-tinged black metal. With just over half an hour of material the artist behind Sammale has delivered an album that can effortlessly be replayed over and over again.

Sammale offers a stripped-back blackened experience when compared to Marrasmieli’s output. The songs on Sammale are raw and unpolished. This is a work of passion and love, but with a less-is-more mentality of minimal tweaking as the songs were being created. This lends the music a vibrant, living quality that’s quite endearing. None of this means that this is overly simplistic caveman black metal; these songs are still well-written and structured, and benefit from the tasteful use of synths and folk influences. It’s not overwrought though, and the end result is an engaging collection of music that’s very effective.

The songs are steeped in atmosphere and emotion, having an easy presence and building unforced mood-based character. They are the kind of songs that are instantly enjoyable; the atmospheres are immersive, and the melodies and riffs impactful.

In many ways the songs are guitar-based, and the focus on the guitars is an approach that works very well. Synths are used sparingly, as are the vocals to a point; the artist’s deep growls are used for emphasis and effect, but are not the central point of the music by any means. Having a guitar-centric approach, yet one that concentrates on atmosphere, means that the music benefits from a real sense of journeying and worldbuilding. In this way Sammale’s music reminds me of a band like Metallica, or, (more appropriately), Moonsorrow, Weakling, or Wolves in the Throne Room – bands that can take the listener on a journey into absorbing soundscapes. I should note of course that these bands are more spiritual comparisons, rather than actual references for Sammale’s sound. Basically, Sammale is high quality and well-delivered.

Don’t miss out on this gem. Buried at the end of 2022, if it was released just a week later in 2023 I can imagine this making more of a splash in the black metal underground. Regardless, those in the know will undoubtedly find it and bask in its atmospheric glory. The artist behind Sammale has crafted a highly enjoyable record that I urge you to spend some time with.

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