Reunited rockers Black Sabbath are six songs into an album of new material without original drummer Bill Ward.

Ward opted to sit out the reunion plans over contract issues and now it appears his former bandmates are pressing on with new music without him.

The heavy rockers, who got together last year (11) for a series of 2012 concerts, recently extended their reunion by announcing 2013 shows in the Far East and Australia - and now guitarist Tony Iommi has revealed they've recorded six tracks for a new album.

He tells The Guardian newspaper, "We've written the 15 songs and we've played them all, but now at the moment we're recording them. We're about six tracks in."

And he fears Ward has left it too late to rejoin the band: "We'll always have a heart for Bill, but I think it's gone past that now, because it's gone on so long I don't see that happening at the moment."

Ward recently said, "If there is some longevity with Black Sabbath, then I'd like to be part of it. I wanna play hard rock music. I wanna play loud drums.