Amber Asylum – Frozen in Amber

Amber Asylum is a band I know from name for some time and from a few compilations. Some time ago I came across their debut album for a nice price in a secondhand store, so I thought ‘let’s give it a try’. And I’m certainly not disappointed by ‘Frozen in amber”. Amber Asylum is a project from San Fransico, a loose collective of musicians, with Kris Force and Jackie Gratz as leading ladies, previously also involved in Neurosis. The album by the way comes in a nice looking, thick sleeve, and on even thicker vinyl.

The band makes a sort of dark chamber music. Cello, violins and piano are dominant ingredients in their musical cocktails, aided by keyboards, guitar, clarinet. The album is almost instrumental, with only a few sparse voices. Filled with waltzes and suites, this album brings some nice dark ambient/classical music. Not all songs are equally accessible, especially as the album progresses, with some dissonant tones and experimental structures at times. There is also quite some passion and melodrama underneath the classical hymns. But overall this gloomy melancholic album is pleasant to listen to on a Sunday afternoon. I just love the sound of strings and piano!

This album has been out of print for some time, but will be re-issued on Neurot in early 2003, with updated packaging and three bonus tracks.

artist: Amber Asylum
label: Elfenblut
details: 9 tracks, released in 1996.