Black Sabbath's Bill Ward: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Drummer shouts out classics including Metallica's Black Album and Type O Negative's 'October Rust'

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Black Sabbath, 'Master of Reality' (1971)
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1. Black Sabbath, 'Master of Reality' (1971)

I like every single Sabbath album that I worked on, but I just happen to like Master of Reality. ... I liked it because the band was, by that time, very much a completely on-the-road, touring band. We hadn't come off the road for several years and there's a maturity about it. I'm not saying that the other two – Black Sabbath and Paranoid – weren't mature. I think they were, actually. But there's something about Master; there's something different about it. It's always been one of my favorites. I just happen to really, really like that album.

I really like "Children of the Grave." I think that's a really good song. One of the things I like about [it is] the way that we used the keyboard in the center. It was almost like a church organ, kind of doom-y, gloomy organ that we laid down. Very hard riffs, very heavy-laden part right in the center of the song. I love the lyrics; I think the lyrics are great. We were stepping out into new places lyrically. 

The groove on "Children of the Grave" is great. I love the groove, and I love playing it live, too. I could feel the power of everybody else in the band and I could feel me playing it, too. It was a double-bass-drum kit, with timbale-playing. There weren't timbale overdubs, either. I think I actually played them in with the track as we were going. But I thought it was outstanding for its time. It sounded just right.

We have "Into the Void" on this album as well. It's great on Master of Reality or when we played it live; it's an incredible song to play. I think it's a real favorite for a lot of the fans, and also for the band as well.

"Sweet Leaf" is great. It's tongue-in-cheek, kind of stepping out a little bit. I remember when we wrote that at Kingsley Ward's place down in Monmouth, Wales. I remember when we first put that together and it just fell together really nicely. That's where we were at that time. Marijuana was extremely popular. I guess it is these days, as well. I wouldn't know, to be honest with you – I kind of left that world a long time ago – but back then, I thought it was an honorable song to be participating in.

"After Forever," I thought we were very risqué lyrically with that. We had the lyric in there, saying, "Would you like to see the pope at the end of a rope?/Do you think he's a fool?" I thought, "Oh, my God, we're gonna get murdered here for saying such things." But we actually said that and it went on the record, and I think that was a very controversial song, especially for its time. I like that we were stepping out and breaking musical rules or lyrical rules saying "you can't go there" or "you can't touch that." I thought that was quite courageous actually.

It does [have a pro-Christian message]. When we were defending the song back in the early Seventies, we would say, "Well, listen to the rest of the lyrics and they're actually quite meaningful," in terms of having harmony among different people and different races of people and so on and so forth. It was actually supposed to be that kind of a song. But it also asks questions, and it asks quite deliberate questions.

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