Brown Sabbath is the alter ego of Austin-based psych-funk collective Brownout who delve deep into reinterpreting the catalog of metal godfathers, Black Sabbath. Their full-length album, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, is set for release June 24 on Ubiquity Records. It's streaming now in its entirety via NPR First Listen: http://n.pr/1vAHCfP
"We booked a residency last September at a local club in Austin where the plan was to play every Thursday with a different theme each week," says Brownout's Greg Gonzalez. "One night was break-dancing music called Brownout II: Electric Boogaloo; another night we played the entire James Brown album Black Caesar as Brown Caesar; one week was a hip-hop night called Fear Of A Brown Planet; and for the last night, we did a Black Sabbath tribute as Brown Sabbath. All of the shows went well, but Brown Sabbath sold out. The audience went crazy for these versions. As a result, we decided to record an EP of Sabbath and once Ubiquity Records got wind of the idea, they asked if we would consider doing a full-length. The rest is history."
An 8-piece outfit formed ten years ago by members of Grammy Award-winning Latin revival orchestra Grupo Fantasma, Brownout has evolved into a musical force all its own. After garnering their third Austin Music Award last year, the band has continued to produce music that is unflinchingly progressive, while evoking the classic influences of artists such asWAR, Cymande and Funkadelic. They've performed at events including Bonnaroo, High Sierra Music Festival, Pickathon, FFFFest, Bear Creek Music Festival, Utopia Festival and Pachanga Fest, while regularly touring the United States. Brownout has also served as a highly in-demand backing band for artists including Prince, Daniel Johnston, GZA and Bernie Worrell.
With its latest recording, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, they remain true to the darkness, bombast and fuzz of Sabbath’s sound, while re-imagining the music with greasy Afro-Latin horns, hypnotic percussion and psyched-out, rare-groove improv. 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 SF Weekly declared, "when performed by Brownout, the music becomes a new beast -- psychedelic, percussive, symphonic."
Brownout has released three albums to date, including Homenaje (Freestyle Records 2008), Aguilas & Cobras (Six Degrees 2009) and Oozy (Nat Geo 2012). They've also released a limited edition, color splattered 10-inch with "Hand of Doom" featuring Alex Maas of The Black Angels on side A and "The Wizard" featuring vocalist Alex Marrero on side B.