Monday, June 3, 2013

Song Meaning & Analysis: War Pigs by Black Sabbath

War Pigs from Black Sabbath's Paranoid album
Black Sabbath is showcasing their antiwar philosophy in the song, "War Pigs." The title refers to personnel who wage and carries out wars, but largely keep their distance for getting their "hands dirty." Case in point, US government. The song fittingly came out in 1970 in Black Sabbath's Paranoid album while the Vietnam War was in full effect, thus adding more meaning to already in-depth lyrics.

This song, along with the title track, are highlights of Black Sabbath's first studio album. This song especially secures their unique place in the history of punk rock music as well as pioneering heavy metal. Today, the song is considered to be one of Black Sabbath's best works, as well as a significant milestone in the enduring history of hard rock and heavy metal.

Following is a breakdown of significant lines in the song:

Evil minds that plot destruction: people who authorize wars but generally stay way from fighting

They leave that role to the poor: The Vietnam War took place in Vietnam, a third world country. After WWII ended, leaders of US, Soviet Union and Briton gathered and agreed to hold any forthcoming wars only in third world countries. In fact, WWII was the last war to be fought over developed countries. So Black Sabbath, in this line, refers to the fact that politicians use the poor, who looking for a living, to fight the war on their behalf against other poor civilians.

Treating people just like pawns in chess: a great line! Chess is a essentially a war fought on board between two parties. The person who moves the pieces, as stated earlier, refrain from getting involved in the battle. Furthermore, Black Sabbath is conveying the idea that politicians consider militants as worthless as chess pieces.

Wait 'til their judgement day comes: There's a reference to God in the song. This lines refers to the fact that those who waged war will be finally punished by God on the Judgement Day.

Begging mercy for their sins: the politicians asking for God's forgiveness for the deaths that result as a consequence of the war(s) they themselves started.

Satan laughing spreads his wings: Satan is amused by politicians' begging of forgiveness.

  1. Generals gathered in their masses
  2. Just like witches at black masses
  3. Evil minds that plot destruction
  4. Sorcerers of death's construction
  5. In the fields the bodies burning
  6. As the war machine keeps turning
  7. Death and hatred to mankind
  8. Poisoning their brainwashed minds
  9. Oh lord yeah!

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

  14. Time will tell on their power minds
  15. Making war just for fun
  16. Treating people just like pawns in chess
  17. Wait 'til their judgement day comes
  18. Yeah!

  19. Now in darkness world stops turning
  20. Ashes where the bodies burning
  21. No more war pigs have the power
  22. Hand of God has struck the hour
  23. Day of judgement, God is calling
  24. On their knees the war pig's crawling
  25. Begging mercy for their sins
  26. Satan laughing spreads his wings
  27. Oh lord yeah!

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