Austin American Statesman Vol. II
With blistering horn blasts, searing guitar licks, and an onslaught of polyrhythmic percussion, Brown Sabbath, the Black Sabbath tribute project from border funk outfit, Brownout was a surprise sensation that took the country by storm in 2014. Now, by popular demand, the nine-piece is back with a second collection of Sabbath covers, “Brown Sabbath, vol. 2” due out on Friday. They celebrate the release on Saturday, Oct. 29 with a party at the Scoot Inn.
“We’ve been touring for the last two years on and off and we’ve gotten such a great response,” guitarist Beto Martinez said about the band’s decision to take a second dip in the dark well of Sabbath songs.
The positive reaction to Brownout’s revisionist metal extended beyond the mid-sized clubs they packed touring the first collection of covers. As Brown Sabbath-mania spread across the country, a friend of the band passed along an audio clip of Sabbath lead Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon raving about “some Mexican guy who sounds just like (Ozzy)” on Sirius XM. Martinez called it “a huge validation” for the project.
To flesh out their live show for the tour, the band worked up a series of covers that weren’t on the original album. So when management, fans and their label began clamoring for more Brown Sabbath, they were ready.
While the first Brown Sabbath album focused primarily on early material, the new eight-song collection digs into the band’s mid-seventies era and includes “some of the more epic Sabbath stuff from ‘Masters of Reality.’” Most of the songs clock in around the seven-minute mark.
Sabbath songs are structurally complex and the additional instrumentation requires detailed arrangements, but don’t worry, heads will still bang. Hard.
“Since the beginning of this we’ve always been wary that we’re gonna go out there and potentially bring out these metal guys who are coming out just because they see Sabbath and maybe they would never in their lives be caught listening to a band with horns and percussion…, so we go out there and give it our all, and you know really try to maintain the heaviness of the whole thing,” Martinez said.
In their early shows, they’d often see the crowd begin the night segregated, with Brownout fans up front and “then you’d see the guys in the back with their arms crossed in the metal shirts looking kind of pissed, like, ‘What’s this?’” Martinez said.
But even the hardest of metalheads tended to come around.
“By the end of the show, they were in the front singing along, head-banging throwing up the horns.”