SO LONG 2013 Posted: 01/03/2014 by Jim Tobin

I know this blog has been relatively quiet over the past six months or so but please be assured that the Irish Metal Archive has still been worked on constantly. A new website will be launched early in the New Year which will have far more content than this blog and will be much easier to browse and search through. So keep your peepers open for that…
But for the time being! Here’s a run-down of my personal favourite Irish release of 2013. I’ll admit I had a hard time trying to whittle it down to the usual ‘Top 10’, so with it being 2013 I decided to make it my ‘Top 13’. First up…
01…  SONUS MORTIS  –  ‘Demo 2013’
It may just be a 3-track demo but holy shit did this release slap me in the face and still holds my full attention. A stunning demo written and recorded by one Kevin Byrne. A full-lenght follow-up is currently being recorded which will hopefully see a release in the coming months, and I for one, cannot wait for it.
This Galway based Occult Doom outfit originally peaked my interest with their 2011 demo, but when their self-titled debut full-length dropped at the beginning of the year I was instantly hooked. Slow and Sludgy Doom played to perfection.
MAEL MÓRDHA have just been getting better and better with each album. Their Gaelic Doom monicker may be a little redundant, though! As this album doesn’t let up for a second. It may also very well be their most accessible album to date but rest assured there isn’t a single dud in the bunch.
04…  SLIDHR  –  ‘Deluge’
Black Metal wouldn’t be one of the usual genres I listen to but 2013 has really made me sit up and take note. And this album is probably the main reason for that. Joseph Deegan has been churning out some of Ireland’s best Black Metal for years, but ‘Deluge’ is by far and away his crowning glory.
05…  CHOSEN  –  ‘Resolution’
It was a long and hard road for Paul Shields and Dave McCann but as the album title suggests, they were resolute and persevered. The result not only being one of the best Irish Metal albums of the year but also one of the best Technical Metal albums of the years… Period!
06…  ANIMATOR  –  ‘Blacklisted’
Hero worship! At it’s finest. Pick any of your Thrash Metal heroes and toss them in a blender. The resulting cocktail is ANIMATOR. Killer riffs! Quality tracks! Love it!
Four blistering metal tracks that will make anyone listening immediately start banging their head. Debut full-length planned for 2014… Bring it on!
08…  KRAWWL  –  ‘Nihil MMXIII’
Another quality Black Metal release. This one literally dropped from out of nowhere. They want to remain quiet on their identities for the time-being and simply let the music do the talking, but their current and past exploits shine through in this very interesting first release. According to the two members involved the demo was a pretty rushed affair and it does show a little, but it still serves as a good indication of what the band are about. And new material is already being conjured for the next KRAWWL release.
A local supergroup of sorts featuring current members of MOURNING BELOVETH, WRECK OF THE HESPERUS, ABADDON INCARNATE and ON PAIN OF DEATH. It’s a heady mix that blends all of the aforementioned brilliantly with their own eerie stamp added to really make an imposing presence felt. Sinister riffs with multi-layered vocals and an added element of pure chaos. They’ve caused quite a stir over the last few months. Definitely one to watch.
10…  MOURNING BELOVETH  –  ‘Formless’
What can you say about this band that hasn’t already been said. They are a masterclass in Doom/Death… simple as that. ‘Formless is a tortured, agonising and expansive release that shows the band at their creative peak.
Most bands can only hope to even come close to achieving what ALTAR OF PLAGUES have done in their relatively short existence. With ‘Teethed Glory…’easily being the bands most diverse release. And the fact that it’s the bands swansong only cements their cult status even more.
Northern Ireland’s counterpart to WEED PRIEST. The bands first demo caught my attention initially.  But this debut full-length really hit the mark. Slow,  Sludged-out and atmospheric Doom delivered brilliantly.
13…  DICHOTOMY  –  ‘Paradigms’
Quality Technical Death Metal from this Dublin outfit. Crushing riffs combined with intricate guitar melodies and solos. Without a doubt some of the best musicianship you’ll hear out of this Island.
Close runners-up that also floated my boat during the year…
OKUS  –  ‘Okus’
DREAD SOVEREIGN  –  ‘Pray To The Devil In Man’