Review Summary: Where the hell did these guys come from?
The Sun Came Up Upon the Left is a weird band to say the least. Up until only a few months ago, I never even heard the name of this band. The same can probably be said for anyone who is reading this review. Well, they are a two-piece band made up of .DB and JGD from Portland, Oregon..same as a band named Agalloch. You may have heard of them. Anyways, on the metal archives, it lists this band as black/death metal. To be quite honest, that description doesn't do this band justice at all because they're so much more than that. Take the unorthodox black metal nature of a band like Deathspell Omega, the chaotic death metal of Portal, and the calm black/post-rock nature of An Autumn for Crippled Children and you basically have the sound of The Sun Came Up Upon the Left and their debut full-length album And the Dreams So Rich in Color
The instrumental aspect of this album varies from minute to minute. One second you could have a calm, dreamy atmosphere with clean tremolo picked guitars and the next it's all out pandemonium with ripping, technical death metal riffs. It's really that uncertainty that makes this album interesting because it keeps you guessing. Every time this album is played there's something different and unique that can be found. Same thing goes for the drumming. One minute it'll just be a simple and then the next all hell breaks loose with blast beats and lightning fast drum fills. All of this factors into why I said that just the regular black/death metal description isn't enough to describe this band. The production isn't clean at all and is very fuzzy and sounds like static, if that makes any sense. The album just wouldn't sound the same with a clean production because it wouldn't help the chaos that is presented here.
Vocally this album is very well done as well. Both artists here provide the vocals and it's a mixture of both black metal shrieking vocals and a death growl. The death metal style of vocals is the more prominent one here and show up a lot more often. Both styles are executed extremely well. You may think a simple death growl can't be unique and sound original. Well, you're wrong. The growls don't really sound like anyone else and aren't similar to bands like Immolation or Cryptopsy or any well-known death metal bands, which marks another aspect of this album that gives the band their own sound. The shrieks are pretty distorted and higher pitched, which is a nice trade off from the death vocals every once in a while.
Anyone reading this review that is asking themselves whether or not to take a shot on this band, just do it. It appeals to all fans of extreme metal and even fans of calmer music such as shoegaze. Maybe not as much, but while this album is very heavy, the overall atmosphere is very "shoegazey" and dream-like. Just picture a Portal-esque album mixed with an Alcest type of atmosphere. If something like that sounds appealing to you, then pick this up asap. Only bigger and better things can be expected from The Sun Came Up Upon the Left and they can only improve from here. This is one hell of a first album and deserves to be heard.