This song was released in 1970, towards the very end of the anti-war movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. At the time the song was written, the Vietnam War was still raging on, and wouldn’t come to an end until about 5 years later. The song is a bold, unapologetic critique of war, as the title insinuates. Though there doesn’t seem to be a true solution given in the song, it offers a commentary on the corrupt nature of war & essentially draws parallels to witchcraft and similar dark concepts.

Generals gathered in their masses

just like witches at black masses

evil minds that plot destruction

sorcerers of death’s construction”


“Politicians hide themselves away, they only started the war”

Using the genre of heavy metal as context, the genre definitely influences the power & energy in a song. Because they are a metal band, “War Pigs” has the sound that is to be expected from Black Sabbath, and its subject matter is just as dark. The looming presence that the intro to the song presents and the heavy guitar throughout the song is definitely inspired by the mysterious, strange, yet intriguing genre of heavy metal music. The instrumental is just hyper enough to capture your attention, so I think the song does a great job in getting people to listen, which of course guides them to discover the messages it contains. The lyricism is also very dark and almost cynical, bringing a sense of reality and almost paranoia to the music, as seems to be the case with heavy metal music altogether.

“In the fields the bodies burning

as the war machine keeps turning

Death and hatred to mankind

poisoning their brainwashed minds”

As for the songwriting, it was written by Black Sabbath’s drummer, Geezer Butler along with Ozzy. It is interesting that the band actually wrote this song because they were right on the precipice of everything happening with the Vietnam War & the protest movement that would unfortunately not see success in bringing peace as a result. The references to dark magic as well as the dig at the government and politicians for being complacent to the war and violence they have not even tried to avoid are definitely very bold, which makes this seem like the perfect protest song. The unapologetic nature of the genre and Black Sabbath in particular makes it nearly impossible to avoid their messages.