Riff Of The Month: Black Sabbath: War Pigs
As the opener on Black Sabbath’s best-selling 1970 album, Paranoid, and featuring guitarist Tony Iommi’s masterful riffing, Warpigs rates as one of the most important tracks in heavy metal history.
The song has an unusual structure, kicking off with a slow, spacey intro in 6/8 time, breaking down for a sparsesounding verse and eventually reaching this month’s riff. Though there are no vocals here, the riff essentially forms the song’s chorus – it comes after the verses, after all, and it’s the earworm part of the track.
You’ll find whilst playing the interlude section that you’ll be using two-note powerchords in the main, but keep an eye out for the vigorous vibrato and trill in bars 2 and 3. The trill is trickiest; it’s just a rapid flurry of hammer-ons and pull-offs, but you’ll need a good turn of speed.
We’ve also tabbed out two more of Iommi’s rhythm grooves to take you well into verses 2 and 3.
Appears at: 1:46-2:39
Key: E minor
Main techniques: Powerchords / vibrato / trills / alternate picking
what youwilllearn Use powerchords as a melody Fast hammer-on/pull-off trilling Wide, aggressive vibrato technique