He bowed out of the band’s reunion with Ozzy Osbourne ahead of recording sessions last year, saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable”. After considering a series of replacements, Sabbath recorded 13 with Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk. The resulting album went all the way to No.1 in the charts.
But Ward tells Rock Cellar: “The only thing I’ve heard from 13 is maybe forty seconds of the first song. Then I turned it off. I just said, ‘I can’t listen to this any more.’
“I haven’t heard anything off that album, and to be quite honest I don’t care to either. It’s too painful. I wish them all the luck – well, they don’t need luck, but I wish them all the best in the world. But I can’t listen to it; it’s too close to home.
“If I want to rip my guts out I’ll put it on.”
He accepts there have been some positives from the drama, reflecting: “The fans have been brilliant. I feel like I’ve got a real close contact with them – I’ve never reached such a point of having such closeness with everybody.
“I’m getting letters from all over the world and they completely support me. I’m forever grateful that they’ve reacted in a really positive way. It’s been a huge endearing experience.”
Ward continues: “It tears me up. Even as I’m talking now I’m not far away from a tear.” But he insists: “I had to follow my heart under the most difficult circumstances.”
Sabbath release a DVD titled Live… Gathered In Their Masses on November 26, and tour the UK next month as part of a world trek that bassist Geezer Butler thinks could be their last:
Dec 10: London 02 Arena
Dec 12: Belfast Odyssey Arena
Dec 14: Sheffield Arena
Dec 16: Glasgow Hydro
Dec 18: Manchester Arena
Dec 20: Birmingham LG Arena
Dec 22: Birmingham LG Arena