Brownout: Brown Sabbath

Brownout: Brown Sabbath

(Ubiquity, 6/24/14)

"The Wizard"

Black Sabbath has always had a pretty funky vibe to its music. From harmonica solos to riffs that owe a hell of a lot to the soul-selling blues men that came before, it debuted as something raw and new—metallic, but with just enough psychedelia. Psych-funk group Brownout has taken that hint, slapping horns and auxiliary percussion over guitars and distorted bass, and made a funk album that takes the dark riffs of the godfathers of metal and draws it into groove heaven.

“Hand of Doom,” with vocals provided by The Black AngelsAlex Maas, initially owes a lot to the original. Then the skies open up, the horns take off, and Maas’s vocals become a driven storm. On “Iron Man,” appropriation rules, with the basic theme branching into a spaced-out synth line, punctuated by horn stabs and bongos. It’s nearly unrecognizable from the original. And first single “The Wizard” swings while vocals from Alex Marrero pay homage to Ozzy’s iconic style.

This isn’t a by-the-numbers Beatles tribute or the umpteenth “clever” pop-punk cover of a boy-band song. Brown Sabbath is an utterly unique piece of art that’s going to make you love some classics in an entirely new way.