Amber Asylum is a highly-variable San Francisco-based music group that serves as a platform for composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Kris Force. Other members and performers have included Steve Von Till (Neurosis), Annabel Lee (Blood Axis), Martha Burns, long-time collaborator Jackie Perez Gratz (Grayceon/Giant Squid/Asunder), Erica Stoltz (Lost Goat), Wendy Farina, Lorraine Rath (The Gault), Sarah Schaffer (Weakling), John Cobbet (Hammers of Misfortune/Ludicra), Eric Wood (Man is the Bastard, Bastard Noise), Leila Abdul Rauf (Saros).
Amber Asylum's music is generally within the neoclassical, post-rock and dark ambient genres, and it tends towards the romantic, introspective, and brooding. Violin and cello are the dominant instruments.
Amber Asylum might sound like the polar opposite of Asunder's crushing doom and Wold's terrifying prairie black metal, but the San Francisco foursome are just as capable of establishing dark moods to rival their Profound Lore labelmates. Firmly rooted in the sedate yet experimental terrain of avant-garde chamber music and post rock, the overall effect of their distinct brand of doom and gloom is far more subversive: What starts out as breathtakingly lovely leaves us emotionally shattered an hour later.
"AmberAsylum...a filmic fusion of modern classical and post-rock...where arias and Art Songs meet in a pale field of electronic disturbance. Equally at home in the opera house or the smoky, raucous din of an underground nightclub, AmberAsylum plumbs the crevass between noise and beauty. Lyrical, confessional, dark yet aspirant, their strings, vocals, and spare percussion billow like furious mists across your consciousness. Dark as it is beautiful, spare as it is complex, its supernaturally decadent powers will overtake you in the remote reaches of your imagination. There's no escaping the Asylum. And no reason you'd want to."
Their first album, Frozen in Amber, was released in 1996.