Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward Picks His 10 Favorite Metal Albums
Rolling Stone has chosen some of the icons of metal music and posed the question of what is their favorite metal albums. We’ve seen legends like Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford and more modern day warriors like Corey Taylor and M. Shadows offer their picks and now Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward is having his say.
The stickman offers up an interesting Top 10, filling it with albums that most would consider obvious but offsetting that with a few discs you might not be expecting from artists that don’t have the cachet that others on the list do have. Ward also isn’t afraid to heap praise on more modern efforts, even including a 2017 album among his picks.
That 2017 album is none other than Dead Cross‘ self-titled effort. The band that features Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo has earned praise with Ward following suit. “I only got this record three weeks ago, and so far, it’s just kicking f–king ass,” says Ward. “And they’re using sound effects, too, by the way, on this record. Of course, I’m attracted to Dave [Lombardo]’s drumming. There are crescendos, there are battering ram-type drum fills, and lots of tom-toms. Very melodic toms. Just twists and turns in the sound of the band. A lot of speed stuff on this record. It’s just great. Patton sounds great, man. He sounds totally on.”
In addition to Dead Cross, some of the acts that don’t have that legendary status just yet that made the cut were DevilDriver, Fear Factory and Krisiun. Ward also calls out Type O Negative‘s October Rust, stating that he always felt a kinship toward the group. “When I first heard them, it was almost like, ‘Oh, I feel like I’ve been in this band,'” says Ward. “Or I feel like this would be a band I could play in, which is no disrespect to Johnny [Kelly]! Johnny and I are pretty good friends to say the least. But when I first heard it, I thought, “Oh, my God, there’s something about this band which is really, really cool.”
He picks discs from Motorhead, a hits collection from Judas Priest and sings the praises of Corey Taylor’s lyrical content on Slipknot‘s .5: The Gray Chapter. “I’m amazed by every time I played the album, I learned something more. It’s the way that Corey will give you a barrage of lyrics, and then become subdued. There are some really hardcore lyrics on this album,” says Ward. “There’s excellent playing from every member of the band, as well.”
Within the piece, Ward chooses Metallica‘s self-titled black album as his No. 2 choice, while also revealing how the disc brought him back around to metal. “When I heard the Black Album, I actually had a response rather like I did with Sgt. Pepper. When I heard Sgt. Pepper for the first time, I sat down – along with a lot of other people – and listened to it over and over and over again. I did the same thing with the Black Album. The Black Album is very, very listenable to me, and it was easy on my ears, easy on my heart, and it was easy on where I was at. I felt very, very grateful that an album like the Black Album had come out, because I felt like it was the beginning of a new road and I felt like there’d been some gaps or some things that were kind of severed after [Black Sabbath’s] Heaven and Hell. There were other things that were happening, but I just couldn’t get it on with any of the stuff in that short period. Then when the Black Album came out, it reunited me with metal. So it’s an important album for me. I love every track on it.”
What did Ward choose for his No. 1 album? One of Black Sabbath‘s, of course. His pick was the Master of Reality disc. “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,” says Ward. “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.”
See Ward’s Top 10 Metal Albums listed below and check out the Rolling Stone article to see his commentary on each of the discs.
Bill Ward’s Top 10 Metal Albums
10. Dead Cross, Dead Cross
9. DevilDriver, Beast
8. Fear Factory, Mechanize
7. Krisiun, Southern Storm
6. Type O Negative, October Rust
5. Motorhead, The World Is Yours
4. Judas Priest, The Best of Judas Priest: Living After Midnight
3. Slipknot, .5: The Gray Chapter
2. Metallica, Metallica (The Black Album)
1. Black Sabbath, Master of Reality
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