Austin, Texas-based, nine-piece Latin funk and breakbeat purveyors Brownout have announced the release of Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, Vol. II on October 28 via Ubiquity Records. The recording—the band’s second collection of material by godfathers of metal Black Sabbath—includes reimagined versions of “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Snowblind” and “Supernaught.” The closing track, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” features vocals by Ghostland Observatory’s Aaron Behrens.
Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath’s debut in 2014 was met with critical praise. Pitchfork wrote, “the rearrangements are so exhilarating that, even without amplifier overdose, they make you remember why you got into metal in the first place,” while NPR Music declared, “the album is a reflection of the kind of cross-cultural life many Latinos in the U.S. live in, one where a 1970s English heavy metal prototype shares record shelf space with Latin music.” Providing further validation, Classic Rock Magazine stated that “the horn arrangements felt like they had always been there.” A national tour led to appearances at Bonnaroo, Austin Psych Fest and Pickathon. The music would ultimately make its way to Ozzy Osbourne himself who raved, “it’s fucking awesome, this fucking Mexican guy sounds just like me,” ultimately garnering the band an invitation to perform at the Ozzfiesta in Mexico.
“When we recorded Volume I, we had only played a couple of live shows, and it was a very new thing,” explains guitarist Adrian Quesada. “We’ve grown as a live band and gained a new level of confidence and ownership over what we do with Black Sabbath. It was important to capture another moment in time showing the band’s development and stamp on the music.”
There is more attention to the guitar elements on Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath Vol. II. Album opener “Supernaut” is bolstered with muscled-up horn arrangements and a tasty bongo break, but the aggressive guitar riff lets you know what’s driving this train. On “Snowblind,” vocalist Alex Marerrochannels Ozzy to chilling effect, matching the dread of Greg Gonzalez’s bass and a menacing lead guitar solo. And while horns kick off “Children Of The Grave,” the star of the show is the band’s rhythm section that makes a song about love and revolution move the needle from rock to metal. Album closer, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” with vocals by Ghostland Observatory’s Aaron Behrens is brooding number, but switches tempo when the percussion underlying the lead guitars leads to a Latin-infused breakdown.
Through a varied career across multiple band incarnations, the nine members of Austin, Texas-based Brownout have carved out a distinctly individual and fearless career in modern music. Starting out as Grupo Fantasma, with a focus on cumbia music, they became known as a party band that jammed in establishments ranging from friends’ houses to coffee shops. Laying down a solid foundation through multiple album releases and countless shows, their star began to rise, ultimately resulting in multipleGrammy Award-nominations, including a 2011 victory in Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album category for their album, El Existential. In the mid-2000s, the group decided to create Brownout—”a return to our roots” as Adrian Quesada notes—to focus on the funk and Latin rock influences. Their sound would evolve across three full-length LPs and a half dozen vinyl singles. It was through this process that they conjured the idea to pay tribute to Black Sabbath, one of their favorite bands growing up as kids in south Texas.