Song of the Day: War Pigs (by Black Sabbath)


“War Pigs” is the classic heavy metal song by the godfathers of heavy metal itself, Black Sabbath. This song will kick you in the nuts from it’s ominous bass heavy intro right through one of the best guitar solos in the middle right up to it’s epic ending. It’s not a surprise that many heavy metal fans both new and old still consider this one of the best heavy metal songs ever. It also highlights Ozzy Osbourne as a frontman who became a template for future metal frontmen everywhere. Hearing him sing out the lyrics reminds us that he wasn’t a mumbling, drug-scarred reality tv show personlality. Ozzy was the face of metal and his voice in the early albums of Black Sabbath was one of the best in the business.

The song itself is actually an anti-war song despite many uses of it in films, tv and trailers highlighting war and violence. Last year’s 300: Rise of An Empire literally reveled in using this song for it’s end credits. Which makes me wonder if those who actually listened to this song actually listened to the lyrics after the first verse.

The lyrics speaks of the inequality of war and how those most willing to begin one are the rich and powerful (meaning they would never ever be put into harm’s way) while those who do the killing and dying are the poor and downtrodden. The interesting thing about this song is how it’s early version was not an anti-war one but just a metal song about witches and black magic rituals. The early name for the song was “Walpurgis” but with the band already being seen as Satanic by puritanical groups in England and in the US they were convinced to change the title to “War Pigs” and adjusted the lyrics to make it the anti-war song it is today.

No matter it’s history and backstory, “War Pigs” remain one of the essential heavy metal songs that any prospective heavy metal newbie needs to listen to and study.

War Pigs

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death’s construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait ’til their judgment day comes

(guitar solo)

Now in darkness world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgment, God is calling
On their knees the war pig’s crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing spreads his wings
Oh lord yeah!

(guitar solo)

Great Guitar Solos Series