BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The alter ego of Austin’s supreme Latin music ensemble Grupo Fantasma, Brownout specializes in Latin funk so stanky it’ll get even the boys pregnant. So when you’re thinking, “Gee, I sure wish Brownout would take on the repertoire of ______,” naturally the first catalog that comes to mind is Black Sabbath’s.
On the face of it, Presents Brown Sabbath sounds like a novelty – horns playing the vocal and guitar lines, congas driving the rhythm, grooves that reveal why St. Vitus danced. The band certainly sounds like it’s having a ball with the setlist (Ozzy-era only, thank you). But as anyone who’s witnessed a Brownout throwdown (or a Grupo Fantasma show, for that matter) can tell you, these are some seriously accomplished musicians, and if they’re covering “Iron Man,” it’s because they love the song and feel, rightly, that they can bring something new to the altar.
That includes some greasy funk for “The Wizard” and “N.I.B.” (both featuring guest vocals from Alex Marrero of Topaz and Mudphonic), lysergically haunted atmospheres for “Black Sabbath” and “Hand of Doom” (the latter sung by the Black Angels’ Alex Maas), a Cuban undercurrent for “Planet Caravan” (sung by Baby Atlas’ David Jimenez) and a Latin jazz breakdown for “Into the Void.” Thrown in some searing guitar solos from Beto Martinez and Adrian Quesada and you’ve got a house party that requires as much throwing of the horns as it does shaking of the hips. Presents Brown Sabbath is heaps of fun, but it’s no joke.
DOWNLOAD: “N.I.B.,” “Into the Void,” “Black Sabbath”