War Pigs is a song by worldwide known English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It is the opening track of their second studio album Paranoid, released in 1970 and often regarded as one of the most quintessential and influential albums in heavy metal history. The album contains several of the band’s signature songs, including Iron Man and the title track Paranoid which was the band’s only top 20 hit.
The original title of War Pigs was “Walpurgis”, a kind of Christmas for Satanists, dealing with the witches’ sabbath.
“Walpurgis is sort of like Christmas for Satanists. And to me, war was the big Satan. It wasn’t about politics or government or anything. It was [about] evil. So I was saying ‘generals gathered in the masses / just like witches at black masses’ to make an analogy. But when we brought it to the record company, they thought ‘Walpurgis’ sounded too Satanic. And that’s when we turned it into ‘War Pigs’. But we didn’t change the lyrics, because they were already finished.”
Indeed, as the title suggests, the song is a vivid attack against war and against those, the politicians named war pigs, who have the power to start it but then “hide themselves away” leaving the poors fighting and dying, treated “just like pawns in chess“.
While Butler said that War Pigs is “totally against the Vietnam War, about how these rich politicians and rich people start all the wars for their benefit and get all the poor people to die for them“, vocalist Osbourne stated that the group “knew nothing about Vietnam. It’s just an anti-war song.“
The song’s instrumental outro, where guitarist Tony Iommi plays is iconical solo, is entitled “Luke’s Wall”.
Generals gathered in their masses,
Just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
Sorcerer 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 mind,
Making war just for fun.
Treating people just like pawns in chess,
Wait till their judgement day comes.
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 judgement God is calling,
On their knees the war pig’s crawling.
Begging mercy for their sins,
Satan laughing spreads his wings.
Oh lord yeah!