The cool riff on this track is fueled by Ward’s relentless, repeating groove. As the transcription shows, he abuses his crash/ride throughout this tune. The first line shows his main groove; the second line is the occasional variation he uses. He varies his chorus pattern continuously, but this is the basic pattern he improvises from. Metallica is one of many bands that covered this great tune.
This song was written as a comment on the injustices of the Vietnam War and remains just as vital today. “War Pigs” was originally going to be the title song for the record, but that all changed after the band recorded the song “Paranoid.” Ward’s drumming on this track is required learning for every metal drummer. For this transcription, we chose to examine the section following the bluesy jam that opens the track. Ward uses a couple of bass drum and crash combinations followed by his hi-hat stomping eighth-notes. It’s funny how something seemingly insignificant can get stuck in the brains of thousands of drummers, such as his signature open hi-hat shuup on the & of 3 in the second bar of the cycle. In the fourth measure, he plays an offbeat drum fill to set up the mayhem that follows. He uses syncopation, flams, and quick singles to good effect in this great tune.
“Paranoid” is a heavy metal anthem if ever there was one. Ward’s approach on this tune may have inspired and been a precursor to today’s use of two bass drums in metal. After all, how does one play double bass with just one kick? Like this! It’s a great driving drum part and quite a workout that Ward sustains for three minutes.