The Mezmerist

Bill Ward was in and and out of Black Sabbath during the 80′s a few times before finally popping up in 1990 with his (severely underrated) first solo album, “Ward One: Along The Way“.   For the most part what he was up to over the years inbetween his appearances in Black Sabbath was mostly unknown.   Over the years I’d heard of a couple of smaller projects he was attached to during the 80′s.   One was called “Blue Thunder“, and the other one was “The Mezmerist”. As far as I know, Blue Thunder never recorded.  However, The Mezmerist did record.  With Bill Ward.  That’s what this article is about.

The MezmeristBack in 1983, Bill Ward became involved in the Mezmerist project, and together they recorded an EP entitled “The Innocent, The Forsaken, & The Guilty”.    This was also the same year that Bill Ward recorded Born Again with Black Sabbath, too.  I did inquire with Bill as to whether he remembered in which order they were recorded, and he didn’t recall.   We know what happened with Born Again, it came out in the summer of 1983.  The Mezmerist album, though didn’t come out then.  In fact, it didn’t come out until 1985, and even then it was only a limited edition of like 500 copies.  Because of that, it became really rare, due to the appearance of a Black Sabbath member on it, and the scarcity of copies.  As time went by, that never changed, it was never released widely, and it became fairly obscure.   In fact, I’d wager so obscure, that most fans didn’t even know Bill did this.  I know I didn’t for the longest time.

In fact, the story of how Bill hooked up with this project/band is detailed on the disc.  The second disc here is a DVD, and on it is a long interview segment detailing the entire history of the band.  In short, the lead singer of the Mezmerist had caught Bill at some local gig he was doing in the Seal Beach area, and just basically walked up to him at the end of the show and said “Hey, you available for any studio time?”  There’s some more detail than that, but I’ll leave that to the DVD – you can watch that yourself.

They did say that the entire first EP was recorded in 3 days.  That harks back to the earliest days of Black Sabbath, when they’d record quickly.

Anyway, earlier in 2013, I got word that the original Mezmerist EP with Bill was going to be released, and not just the songs from that, there was a second Mezmerist EP recorded (without Bill, he was just on the first one) that had NEVER been released, so you put the two together, and you had a proper length album that could come out.  And out it came.

Package

What came out was quite a nice package.  A lot of these kind of albums that don’t have the marketing weight behind something like “13″ tend to use lesser materials to save some money.  That is not the case here.  This is a full jewel case with nice heavy paper on the booklet insert.   There’s two discs here, a CD and a DVD.   The booklet has its own high quality.   Lyrics to all the songs, lots of pictures, as well as a short version of the Mezmerist story.   It has a CD booklet quality that some AAA titles don’t have.

Music

What does the music sound like?   The first thing I thought of when I listened to it is the vocals reminded me of King Diamond.   When I mentioned that to the press guy who hooked me up with the CD, said that it was a comment that’s been heard before, but this was recorded before Diamond really got going, so it wasn’t influenced in that way.   The tunes have a raw sound to them, and as I mentioned it has a very high pitched falsetto vocal sound.   While it was recorded in 1983 & 1985, the “sound” has a late 70′s Rush kind of feel to it.   That’s not to say it sounds LIKE Rush, but that kind of production value of early Rush I can hear in here.  Might call me nuts, but that’s what it feels like.   Like the tunes are from 10 years previous to when they were recorded.

So if I put these feelings together, it’s like King Diamond singing for 1974 era Rush.  That’s what the Mezmerist sounds like to my ears.   Now obviously, this isn’t Rush, this isn’t King Diamond.  It’s the Bloody Mezmerist, and if you liked either of those examples I talked about, then you should check this out, you might like it.

If you like the tunes, you’ll definitely want to listen to the DVD, because Thomas Mazmercardo goes over it track by track and tells you what the songs were written about, and the meanings before the songs.  Check it out.

Summary

He says he doesn’t care if he makes a penny off of this, he just seemed happy in the documentary that this was coming out.   Well, it’s out, and it’s definitely enjoyable.  I won’t lie, Bill Ward was the hook into this, but I took the hook, listened, and enjoyed what I heard.  So Tommy if you read this, yeah, I did enjoy it.  So mission accomplished.

To the rest of you – go take shot, buy a copy, and check it out.   Let me know what you think in the comments below.

In the documentary, I found this comment from Tommy to be one that I had to stop and rewatch.   In the segment where he talks about Bill Ward, Tommy was asked how Bill was doing during recording, and he said “Well, you show Bill what you have going, and he just does his thing – you don’t TELL Bill Ward how to play the drums.  No one this planet has the right to tell Bill Ward how to play drums”.

That last line is true.

Finally, I found this interview regarding the Mezmerist release.  I didn’t have anything to do with it, but it’s a good interview with Tommy, and is worth your time to read.

The Mezmerist with Bill Ward

 

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Comments

  1. Okay I have heard some of this stuff before and my thought on it was that It sounded like a bad Mercyful fate wannabe band. Even the drumming wasn’t nothing amazing. It almost sounded like a drum machine on some songs.

    • I’m not claiming it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard or anything like that. But it’s not nearly like you’re making out to be fishtowner.

  2. wildatheart says:

    I bought this at my local record store and what a surprise! I was really into listening to the drums especially since I’m a drummer and I don’t know what fishtowner is talking about, but it sounds nothing like a drum machine and the last song Bill Ward does Victim of Environmental Change is a strong drumming performance. Besides the Ozzy albums, this is the best project I’ve heard a Sabbath member in. That guitar player is gifted, but you can’t compare him to Iommi – two different styles. The booklet was really well put together and had a ton of old Bill Ward photos rehearsing with the band.

    • Besides Ozzy albums??? and Tony Iommi and all his fantastic albums keeping the flame of Sabbath. Forgive me, I just can’t admit this kind of insult. Have you ever compared Live Evil to Speak of the Devil. Have you ever compared Dio’s voice to Ozzy’s. Iommi will always be Sabbath and Sabbath Iommi!!!

      • Ok we get it…you like Iommi. It’s the same reply in every post you do. This happens to be about a damn good drummer in Bill Ward not Iommi. Looking forward to finding this disc and giving it a listen.

  3. Chad Hallman says:

    Who gives a shit if there was a little drum machine or something that sounded likeit? Bill Ward was on the disc! The best drummer there is & the best drummer that Black Sabbath ever had! I would buy it either way, because I’m a dedicated Bill Ward fan.

  4. Agree. Besides the Dio albums, this is the best project I’ve heard a Sabbath member in. :)

  5. I haven’t gotten the album yet but I’ve loved everything I’ve heard from youtube. A sort of Paul Chain vibe from this stuff which I absolutely love. It’s so over the top and fun.

    I’m really hoping the b.s. that’s gone on with Sabbath will mean Bill becoming more active. We need a re-release of the old albums and I’d be all over any new material. And it’s not like there aren’t a million great Doom bands that wouldn’t love to have Bill join them.

    Bill, we love you man. Come out and play!

  6. George Berk says:

    This was not mentioned but Bill Ward was involved with another band in 1983. They were called “Max Havoc”. I have the LP I had read he played drums on some tracks but there is no mention in the LP’s liner notes. He is listed as “Associate Producer” on the back of the LP & on the lyric sheet inside the LP he was given song writing credits for two songs “”I’m The Show” & “Delilah’s Fire”.

  7. Jeff Downing says:

    I am going to pick this up. Thanks for drawing our attention to it! From the books I have read and the interviews I have seen with him, Bill seems to be a very thoughtful, creative person. Not your typical drummer stereotype, and surely that is at least a part of what makes his drumming unique. He is inventive and I love the jazz influences.
    I too thought that “Along The Way” was a fantastic album and hands down the most surprising and varied of Sabbath members outside projects. It’s pretty unique- I can’t think of anything that sounds quite like it. And very personal, and uplifting even. Really great.

    This is not directly related , but this talk of under-appreciated albums leads me to mention “Never Say Die”. I know you are a fan of that album, and I am a huge HUGE fan of that album. With the release of 13 it seems NSD gets dragged through the mire all over again by journalists, fans and even the band members. I know it was a hard hard time for them, but I think that album is so underrated that it’s mind-boggling to me. Junior’s Eyes, Johnny Blade, Air Dance….to my mind that album contains some of their very best and most interesting work. Nothing sounds like it either.
    I could practically go on a crusade to elevate the stature of that album. I absolutely love it.

  8. I LOVE the single Bill did in 2003 (?) Straws. Very Beatles but heavy.

  9. Bill Ward is the man!!!

  10. If been listening to Tom play these songs for several years. He was very surprised to find out that he has a lot of European fans 20+ years later. I am a good friend of his, I can tell you this. Tom is still an amazing guitar player. Gifted like one said above, I hope he is remember in rock and roll history in some way or another. M.Hinkel friend/artist/photographer.

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