In the hallowed tradition of strong women who rock as hard (if not harder) as the boys, Crystal Ignite joined the ranks of Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), Amy Lee (Evanescence), Lacey Sturm (formerly of Flyleaf), Hayley Williams (Paramore), and fellow Australian Brody Dalle (the Distillers, Spinnerette) with her band Bellusira. In 2007, she started Bellusira -- a combination of the Latin for "beauty" and "anger" -- with Kiwi bassist Mark Dalbeth after the pair met during a period of homelessness in Melbourne. As a survivor of abuse, Ignite wanted to give hope to others by making her own dream come true. The pair went on to make their names in Australia with debut album Connection, which featured the throbbing earworm "Cachango." Combining the muscle of Evanescence, the vocals of Flyleaf, and the pop savvy of Paramore, Bellusira mixed melodic riffs, pummeling drums, and Ignite's melding of raspy growls and angelic singing.
In 2014, they decided to leave Australia and head to Los Angeles for increased exposure and a shot at a wider audience, extensively touring the American heartland and secondary markets. Dalbeth and Ignite were joined by former Static-X guitarist Koichi Fukuda -- who replaced Gary Joseph Potter, Jr. -- and drummer Tosha Jones. With help from a successful PledgeMusic campaign, Evanescence's Will Hunt, and new label Pavement Entertainment, they recorded their sophomore album, The Healing, with Ulrich Wild (Deftones, Pantera, White Zombie) and Dan Whittemore (who worked with fellow "more"s, Paramore and Macklemore). They remained razor-sharp and hungry, but with improved production, the band's sound tightened, simultaneously heavier and poppier than ever before ("Dance with Me," "The Fire Song"). Their palette expanded, including gorgeous ballad work ("Tonight") and acoustic meditations ("The Healing"). ~ Neil Z. Yeung
- Los Angeles, CA