Pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath performed this enduring anti-war song on its first album. Band members at various times have been quoted stating it is about the Vietnam War, or war in general. It is from the band’s first album, Paranoid, dated 1970.
Generals are likened to witches, overseeing burning bodies in conflicts initiated by politicians. Soldiers are the poor, dying for the causes of the rich. This Marxist whinge of class exploitation culminates in a prophecy that God will send the war pigs to Hell. Incidentally, and probably unknown to Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler et. al., is that in early writings, Karl Marx also imagined a bloody, apocalyptic Book of Revelation-styled scenario, bringing the end of the exploitative economic system of capitalism. This political messianic prediction later became the more earthly (though still not realized) worker’s revolution.
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Clear Channel Communications issued a list of inappropriate songs for its more than 1,000 radio stations to abstain from playing out of respect to the victims, for a time. War Pigs was on this list, though it has also been cited as having one of the best rock guitar solos, ever (Guitar World magazine).