Hard rock girls conquer Ellen, Megadeth, video games
by C.F. Sheeler
News alerts about storms and disasters are things we should all be fearful of but what would you do if you were about to be invaded by something much more potent, like a hard rock band who had taken over day time television, their metal heroes and video games? You might heed the oncoming menace if the group was helpfully called the Warning and bandied about a slogan that didn't leave any doubt about their presence: "be warned."
The group consists of three sisters from Monterrey, Mexico: Daniela Villarreal on vocals, lead and rhythm guitars and keyboards, Paulina Villarreal on vocals, drums and keyboards and Alejandra on vocals, bass guitar and keyboards. They started out as most bands do by covering songs by their favorite bands, but these girls' favorite bands consisted of groups like Metallica, The Foo Fighters, and Megadeth, just to name a few. Most bands at their beginning emulate the music of their heroes, however what makes The Warning different was that they were doing it at an almost expert level when Daniela was fourteen, Paulina was twelve and Alejandra was only nine years old.
The Warning's first cover to be aired on YouTube was of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," which to date has accumulated almost fifteen millions views. Other covers followed; Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," Guns N Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," just to name a few. The sisters had a dream of attending the five-week summer music program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. They started a campaign to raise the $30,000 fee for the program. The sisters also hoped to gain the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, whose talk show featured incredible young people at their best.
With the help of their numerous videos, magazine articles and just plain word of mouth, the sisters finally caught the attention of Ellen, who invited the band to appear on her show where the sisters played a short set of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." After that, they sat down with Ellen who, with the help of the Target Corporation, presented each of the girls with a check for ten thousand dollars, meeting their goal of thirty thousand dollars to attend the summer program at Berklee.
Before the sisters left for the music program, they started to experiment, to find their own sound, their own way in the world of hard rock. The result was an EP titled Escape the Mind with songs like the mellow guitar-oriented "Eternal Love," the hard rocking "Free Falling" and the haunting piano driven "Escape the Mind" that gave the growing fans of the group a taste of what was yet to come.
During their time at Berklee, the sisters were occasional featured on the Ellen's Show's Ellen Tube. Also while attending the summer music program the girls met and were given advice by one of their heroes, Dave Ellefson, the bass player for the thrash metal band Megadeth.
Ellen had another surprise for the sisters during their stay in Boston. The sisters commented on Ellen's program and during their early concerts that one of their main influences to play rock and roll music was because of their constant playing of the video music game Rock Band put out by the company Harmonix Music Systems Inc., whose headquarters are also located in Boston. Elle arranged for a tour of the Harmonix headquarters where the girls were surprised by having The Warning's song "Free Falling" as a player song on the new Rock Band 4. After the summer music program at Berklee, The Warning did a few more cover versions, most notably a very professional video cover of The Foo Fighters' "The Pretender." Then they stopped doing covers unless they played them in the mini-concerts at nightclubs and other places such as the University of Nevada's TEDx Conference in Reno, Nevada.
The Warning then started working on their first album. They listened to and took in what the music business told them that they had to do to make their album a success and what the band needed to change to become successful. But in the end, they didn't see why they would have to change themselves or their music to become a success. So, the girls decided to take their chances and do their own thing. The result of the sisters' effort was the album XXI Century Blood, a masterful set of thirteen original songs that took almost a year and a half to record. The sisters wanted to take their time and not just put out an album, but to put out the best album that they could and that is exactly what they did.
With songs like the heavy rock anti-technology title track, the haunting piano driven "Black Holes" which tugs at your heart, and the thrash metal influenced "Copper Bullets" about domestic abuse, the sisters lets the listener know what they think of the world in the twenty-first century and what they would like to change about it. The Warning gained a following of fans that range from pre-teens to people in their mid-sixties, including classical hard rockers that have said that their debut was the first album that they had bought in twenty years. The fans are also from many different countries- Brazil, the United States, Canada, Spain and Sweden just to name a few.
What makes this little band of sisters from Mexico appeal to people of all ages and all nationalities? Are they speaking on issues that everyone, from young to old can relate too? Is it their passion for their music? Whatever draws fans to the music of The Warning, XXI Century Blood is worth your time.
With Daniela's soring guitar leads, Paulina's heavy hitting drumming and Alejandra's well define bass lines, these girls, these now-teenage sisters are already at the point in their musicianship that most people work a lifetime to reach. Daniela and Paulina switch off on lead vocals, sometimes in the same song, such as "Survive." Both of them have the passion in their voices that one would usually find in singers twice their age. So far, Alejandra sings harmony and backup vocals, however, having taken bass solos at age ten and not being afraid to introduce the band and her sisters individually at concerts, you can bet that on future projects, she will have just as much to say in song as her sisters.
From here, we can only imagine where the Villarreal clan will take their band and their music but they've once again offered up another alert about their intentions as a promise and a threat: "you have been warned." And so we have and we're the better for it.
See the Warning website at https://www.thewarningband.com/
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