This song was written as a comment on the injustices of the Vietnam War, and remains just as poignant today. “War Pigs” was originally going to be the album’s title, but the label chose to avoid the potential controversy at the last minute. Ward’s drumming on this song (not to mention on this disc as a whole) is required learning for every metal drummer. We’re examining 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 thousands of drummer’s brains. His signature open hi-hat shuup is on the & of 3 in the second bar of the cycle is a perfect example of that. In the fourth measure, he plays an offbeat drum fill to set up the mayhem that follows. He puts syncopated rhythms, flams, and his quick singles to good effect in this 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 routine use of double drums in metal. It’s a great driving drum part, and quite a workout that Ward sustains for three straight minutes.