Just Like Pigses At Black Masses
April 22, 2018 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Black Sabbath's War Pigs; Faith No More Pigs; Cake (No) War Pigs; DJBassedOut's Disposable Dubstep War-Piggery (via Metallica); OhLordsYeah Of The Rhymes' Black Riders. (Spoilers: Legolas will kick their asses)

Fun fact: the opening couplet "Generals gathered in their masses / Just like witches at black masses" has in its time been voted one of the Worst Lyrics Evar, legitimately listed up there with Des'ree's "I don't want to see a ghost / It's the sight that I fear most / I'd rather have a piece of toast".

Metal horns emojis to any actual Sabbath fans (as opposed to Drive Boy Blue here) using the comments to link earlier/demo versions of "War Pigs" which I believe had different lyrics entirely? Or especially good live versions or other fun facts or whatever.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue (53 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
It should have been "Generals raising all their glasses".

That's all I have to say about that.
posted by yhbc at 7:55 PM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Swell Season (Glen Hansard/Once) is known for gentle acoustic folk rock ("Falling Slowly," etc.). But one night in Columbus, OH, their drummer apparently needed to get some aggression out, so they broke into an impromptu version of "War Pigs." To my knowledge, it's the only time they ever played it on stage, but they did quite a credible job with it.
posted by liam665 at 7:56 PM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


Now found this ridiculously committed verse-chorus-verse style song-junglism-song version too and tbh it works for me. Thanks YouTube!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:59 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think they mean BEST LYRICS EVAH.

/Duh-duh guitar noise.
posted by Artw at 8:03 PM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


It should have been "Generals raising all their glasses".

Drinking gallons of molasses?
posted by aubilenon at 8:08 PM on April 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


I mean, the same song has “sorcerers of deaths construction” if you’re going to pick on lines because they’re a bit wacky and act like they aren’t still completely awesome despite/because of that.

OH LORD YEAH.

/dun-dun-durrr-durrrrr
/drums
posted by Artw at 8:11 PM on April 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


Previously
posted by dbscissors at 8:12 PM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


Well, if past people are going to go round putting real effort into their posts then that's just so unfair.

Seriously though nice catch dbscissors, will check those links!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:18 PM on April 22, 2018


It might not be Fortunate Son, but I still think it's a damn good anti war anthem, especially since we have so many war pigs in our government
posted by Beholder at 8:26 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Then again:
'"Metallica - War Pigs In The..." The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement.' Grr!

Something something linkrot copyright threadsitting offtowatchsomethingonnetflixdothashtag
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:27 PM on April 22, 2018


/widdly widdly woo guitar bit.
posted by Artw at 8:27 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I mean, it’s no Electric Funeral...
posted by Artw at 8:28 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]




Just like Jackie K. Onassis?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:45 PM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


The Dresden Dolls War Pigs is my favorite non-Ozzy version. The link is from their Sydney show, I saw them do it at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on the same tour.
posted by feckless at 9:10 PM on April 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


temple of the dog

miss you chris
posted by entropicamericana at 9:10 PM on April 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Dresden Dolls War Pigs

Holy. shit. Thank you for linking that.
posted by figurant at 9:25 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that pretty much rocks.
posted by Artw at 9:33 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


George hears War Pigs for the first time with Ryan along for the ride.
posted by vverse23 at 9:52 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Gore Tech - War Pigs for a nerve-thrashing drum and bass take...
posted by FatherDagon at 9:54 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


That DJBassedOut's version is actually Celldweller's Disposable War Pigs. Somebody's passing other people's work under their own name.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:21 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Great post, and just stopped by to praise Faith No More's version, which I prefer to the original.

A very long time ago, my room mates and I used to play both versions at the same time, on vinyl and CD, and it still seems like the perfect way to listen to this because of the dissonance between the two.

That is all.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:01 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Verres Militares

From one of my favourite things: SABBATVM, an album of medieval-style covers of Black Sabbath songs by Estonian early music band Rondellus.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:27 AM on April 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Generals gathered in their masses / Just like witches at black masses

What makes people perceive this lyric as "bad", I wonder? Because the end rhyme is the same word? That's common in hip-hop and ghazals. Because the simile doesn't work for them? I think the simile is on point - generals gathering to serve War like witches gathering to serve Satan - seems pretty accurate and damning (pun totally intended) to me.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:14 AM on April 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


It's not just the reuse (well, they're homonyms really, right? It's gathered in their [lots] like witches at [inverted church services]) but also the way the delivery and adding structure lean in on the end of the line, coupled with Ozzy's super-serious no-audible-tongue-in-cheek delivery. There's no sense of any self awareness or playfulness with the repeated word (as their often is in rap) and it consequently comes across as a cop out.

It basically sounds ridiculous in a way that the repeated word rhymes in a lot of rap don't. It doesn't sound like it's done for intentional effect, so much as a last ditch effort to avoid violating the rhyme scheme.
posted by Dysk at 2:29 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


(Also the image of a black mass attended by masses of witches rather than it being a comparatively small scale affair is a hilarious one. Like a cathedral full of ostentatious sacreligious imagery, and the pews filled with pointed hats.

Personally, "black mass" doesn't invoke something attended by masses of witches, exactly.)
posted by Dysk at 2:33 AM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Interesting - I always read Ozzy's delivery as evidence of his genuine anger - so overcome he can't bother with any vocal artifice or ornament.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:36 AM on April 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Wasn't it Geezer writing most of the lyrics in that era anyway?
posted by Dysk at 3:02 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yep, Geezer wrote the lyrics. From wiki:

The original title of "War Pigs" was "Walpurgis", dealing with the witches' sabbath "Walpurgis is sort of like Christmas for Satanists. And to me, war was the big Satan", said bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler. "It wasn’t about politics or government or anything. It was Evil itself. 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."
posted by Dysk at 3:04 AM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]




Thanks, Ten. I just came in to make sure Donut was properly represented.
posted by davelog at 5:12 AM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Samantha Fish!
posted by flabdablet at 6:06 AM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Does your War Pigs cover have a lap steel solo?
Yeah, didn't think so. [previously]
posted by signal at 6:14 AM on April 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


unfortunately we've only got the beginning of the time Jack Black did it to warm up the crowd on the Tonight Show, but it's pretty fun
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:23 AM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Right, here's Opium Jukebox covering War Pigs .
posted by evilDoug at 7:19 AM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


there's an argument to be made that Black Sabbath are covering themselves, given that they originally called the song 'Walpurgis' and the lyrics were different.
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:27 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


The genius of this song is that Tony Iommi packed more riffs in one song that most bands did in an entire side.
posted by Ber at 7:43 AM on April 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ruthie Foster
Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Dirty Revival
Sorry, was looking for an awesome hip hop cover but the closest I come was this. Word is that Cypress Hill covered War Pigs but no luck finding it. Somebody do me a solid and post an awesome hip hop/rap cover please.
posted by evilDoug at 7:46 AM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


If there's a hip-hop 'War Pigs' cover, I've never heard of it (like Run DMC when they first heard the lyrics to 'Walk This Way,' I think a lot of rappers would find the lyrics kinda corny). But here are some 'War Pigs' samples and DJ flips:

Ice T - Rhyme Pays
Esham - Judgement Day
DJ Z-Trip - Rockstar
DJ Shortfuse - Unpleasant Thoughts
Kano - I Don't Know Why
Beanie Siegel - The Day
Necro - Sorcerer of Death's Construction

(Honorable mention to Mr. Dibbs, who has a long history of using Black Sabbath in his live sets and DJ battle routines)
posted by box at 8:32 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


there's an argument to be made that Black Sabbath are covering themselves, given that they originally called the song 'Walpurgis' and the lyrics were different .

Walpurgis lyrics:
On the hill the church in ruin
Is the scene of evil doings


Haha, the Walpurgis has an even clumsier rhyme than 'masses' with 'masses'. Ozzy could have rhymed 'ruin' with 'doings' but he properly enunciated each of them and added the 's' to 'doing'. Which is fine, but every other couplet rhymes so this one stands out. And then, "I guess it's the same whereever you may go" is fitted into the same rhyme scheme as the "Poisoning their brainwashed minds" part - halfheartedly and mumbled. And funnily the scene it describes is in no way "the same where ever you may go " unless you to to some seriously weird places. Great song though. It works well with either set of lyrics.

Here's another cover of War Pigs. by the Flaming Lips and Cat Power
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:53 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hellsongs, "War Pigs". If acoustic Scandinavian folk versions of metal is what you're looking for, Hellsongs got you covered.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:57 AM on April 23, 2018


George (who has not heard it before) and Ryan (neither of whom know much at all about Metal) listen to War Pigs.

One of the things George calls out is the funkiness of Bill Ward's drumming. And until I learned about funk, I would have thought he was just making a random compliment. But it's more than that.

One James Brown's established definitions of Funk is "The Rythym of the 1". That means a HEAVY accent on the 1st beat of a 4/4 measure. "2-3-4" all can go off into complex polyrythyms at musical angles to each other, but everybody comes back on th "1". The heavy "1" is the anchor amidst all the groove.

And that's exactly what's going on in "War Pigs". There is a rock-solid "1" throughout the entire song. For all the drum fills, wandering bass riffs, multi-tracked guitars, all sliding past each other doing their own things, everybody hits the "1" like a factory steam-hammer.

Black Sabbath; funkier than we expected all along.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:36 AM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Another live rendition by the Flaming Lips: https://youtu.be/TGjm9uV_BpI?t=25s
posted by MrJM at 11:03 AM on April 23, 2018


legitimately listed up there with Des'ree's "I don't want to see a ghost / It's the sight that I fear most / I'd rather have a piece of toast."

Well, I would rather have a piece of toast than see a ghost. So banal, perhaps, but true.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:21 AM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


just in case you slipped past evilDoug's mention above, Dirty Revival's cover is amazingly good
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:49 AM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


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'.

‘Walpurgis’ is too Satanic for a band named Black Sabbath? Did they think it was more appropriate for Coven?
posted by TedW at 1:08 PM on April 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


(Whoops, messed up the 'Rhyme Pays' link. It's probably my favorite 'War Pigs' sample flip--1987 Ice-T was real hungry, and producer Afrika Islam also uses a sample from 'Tubular Bells,' so, here you go.)
posted by box at 3:41 PM on April 23, 2018


Live cover by Quasi.
posted by zoinks at 9:06 PM on April 23, 2018


Alt-country band Freakwater did this too! Here's the Youtube.

Also linked, although let's be honest I didn't watch it, Masters of War Pigs.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:21 AM on April 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Until this very moment, I was sure the lyric was "Generals gathering their masses," which for some reason makes more sense to me.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:05 PM on April 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Dammit, all my preconceived notions are crashing to the ground today. I followed the BBC bad lyrics link and found this gem by Toto: "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti." I always heard it (depending on my level of drunkenness) as either "rises like an empress" (kind of abstract, but ok) or "rises like a leopress," which I assumed was a female leopard, and don't judge me.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:13 PM on April 24, 2018


wish this petition had worked
posted by Redhush at 6:21 PM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I stole and then wore out my mom's Paranoia cassette tape, and know every song on it by heart. Even so, I can no longer hear any version of "War Pigs" without expecting to hear "Get out the way, bitch, get out the way" in between each line.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:36 PM on April 25, 2018


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