Released: 2015, Pavement Entertainment
Bellusira originally hails from Australia, but recently relocated to Los Angeles, the place where bands hope to become household names, knowing the alternative is to fade into obscurity. THE HEALING is the band’s second LP following 2013’s CONNECTION. On the surface, BELLUSIRA is a female-fronted metal band, but not in the sense that is usually associated with metal these days. The band avoids the symphonic road, instead opting for more commercial leanings that could have a wider appeal. Thus less keyboards and more guitars and bass are the order of the day.
Leading the charge is vocalist Crystal Ignite, her comfortable range and appealing melodies helping to carry the simple yet melodic tunes. Guitarist Koichi Fukuda, formerly of Static-X, is one of the band’s two Americans and brings a down-tuned, staccato approach to the riffs and chords. The band is adept at treading the commercial line while still offering heavier songs, such as opener “The Fight” demonstrates. The next two songs are similar, so just when you think you have Bellusira figured out, they throw a curve ball at you with the semi- balladic “Sister.” “How Far” is another tune that showcases the band’s capabilities, reminding me of Lacuna Coil in their heyday.
Ignite is clearly the star here, her personable vocals and catchy melodies leading to often memorable choruses. The rest of the band adequately provides the framework for Ignite. The riffs are fairly standard and stock, being like most female-fronted metal guitar work in that respect. Still, they serve their purpose and Fukuda does offer a couple of decent solos when given the chance, most noticeably on “Dance With Me. Weaker moments do exist of course, such as the awful nu-metalish half rap by Ignite at the end of the otherwise decent “Sever” and the transparently fishing-for-a-hit pop rock of “Pieces.” “Redemption Queen” throws in another bit of nu metal rap, but overall this is a remarkably consistent and enjoyable album.
THE HEALING ultimately provides 11 tracks and 38 minutes of variety, the band not really settling on any one style for very long. Ignites vocals are refreshing, and it nice to hear a more modern take on what has become a very predictable subgenre of female-fronted metal, plus there are no beauty and the beast vocals! As I said, there are some elements I can do without, my guess being the band thinks these half raps are necessary to capture the American market. Hopefully they will lose them, because Bellusira is quite decent without them. Recommended for fans of Lacuna Coil, Kandia, Ravenscry, and Nemesea.