War Pigs – Black Sabbath

A song often misunderstood as "satanist" is a vivid and blatant attack against war and those who started it.

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.

Black Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler said in an interview:

“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!

Sounds from the Bucket
Marco Principia

Born in Rome, his beloved city. Graduated with honors in Political Science and International Relations at Università degli Studi "Roma Tre". Currently employed at CIES - ONLUS as Fundraising Manager. Huge fan of A.S. Roma.
6 Comments on this post.
  • Avatar
    ed philbin
    2 April 2016 at 10:47 am
    Leave a Reply

    Satanist? Really? Even my Mom, who couldn’t stand Ozzy, knew War Pigs was an anti-war song. Are people really that stupid?

    • Marco Principia
      Marco Principia
      4 April 2016 at 11:08 am
      Leave a Reply

      Unfortunately you’re right. As said in the article, given the fact that the original title of the song was “Walpurgis” (a sort of “Christmas” for Satanists), even the record company thought it was too “satanic”. Maybe also because of the references to “witches” and “Satan” in the lyrics.
      Moreover, Ozzy Osbourne’s version of this song, contained in his “The Ozzman Cometh” album, has a much less sophisticated and more esoteric lyrics (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/o/ozzy+osbourne/war+pigs_20104024.html) which may have plumped these allegations.
      I personally love this song and the powerful anti-war meaning it has.
      Thank you for appreciating the article and for the comment Ed.

  • Avatar
    29 May 2016 at 3:52 am
    Leave a Reply

    You explained it perfectly!

    • Marco Principia
      Marco Principia
      20 December 2016 at 2:45 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Thanks Hack!

      Glad you enjoyed the reading.

  • Avatar
    Forum USA
    19 December 2016 at 12:01 pm
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    • Marco Principia
      Marco Principia
      20 December 2016 at 2:44 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Of course. Feel free to grab our feed and spread the word!
      Thank you for following us and for the kind appreciation of our articles.

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