Ten Great Irish Heavy Metal Bands


Happy St. Patty’s day, everybody! I hope you’re all wearing green because if you’re not, I’ll magically appear as you read this and pinch your nipples.

To commemorate this fine day, I figured I’d slap together a list of some great Irish heavy metal bands I know to populate your playlists with today. Please keep in mind this list is “off the dome” so-to-speak and I probably missed and/or am ignorant of something really good out there. If that’s the case, feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section below.

So, pour yourself pint, don your kilt, and get ready to bang your head-- this is Ten Great Irish Heavy Metal Bands (in no particular order)…

10) Trojan

Trojan, formed in 1982 in Dublin, is a traditional heavy metal band. They released one full-length, The March Is On, in 1988 and split up in ‘92-93.  Two of the band’s tracks, Soldier Song and Charge of the Night Brigade, appeared on the 1985 Green Metal New Irish Heavy Metal Compilation album. Listen to the track War Cry from The March Is On below:


09) Geasa

Geasa is an Irish metal band of the folk and black metal variety. Formed way back in 1994, they have released a total of three full-lengths and an EP. 

Interesting factoid: Geasa shares their drummer, Simon O’Laoghaire, with another heavy hitter on this list, Primordial.

Here’s the track Warrior from the band’s demo, Starside


08) Mael Mórdha

Mael Mórdha is a doom metal band that fuses traditional doom with Irish folk metal creating what could most accurately be described as Gaelic doom. Formed in 1998, Mael Mórdha has released three very impressive full-lengths, the most recent of which, titled Manannan, was released just last year.  The band also contributed a track to a split with-- you guessed it-- Primordial.

List to the track Godless Commune of Sodom off my favorite of their three efforts, Gaelteacht Mael Mórdha:


07) Celtic Legacy

Celtic Legacy, formed in 1997, is a band who, through out their tenure, was sadly plagued with financial issues that eventually resulted in their demise in 2009. Between the years of ‘98 and ‘08 the band released three full-lengths, one of which was made possible by a fan campaign to raise money. The band’s style could most easily be described as traditional metal (Thin Lizzy, who you’ll see later in this list, inspired) with folk trimmings.

Here’s the track Celtica from the band’s final album, Guardian of Eternity:


06) Waylander

Waylander is, if I’m not mistaken, the very first band to appear on this list not from Dublin.

Formed in 1993, Waylander has managed to release three full-lengths and a couple of demos despite being plagued by personnel and record label troubles leaving the band with only one of their original members. Despite their revolving door policy, Waylander has become a mainstay in the scene with a vast influence on the Celtic metal genre.

Here’s the track Born to the Fight off their very first full-length, Reawakening Pride Once Lost:


05) Cruachan

Cruachan may well be my least favorite band on this list. I’ve just not heard anything from them that grabbed me. The instruments are usually really cool but the vocals have just never really done it for me. That said, I know a lot of people who really like ‘em, hence their addition to the list.

Formed in 1992, disbanded in 1997, reactivated in 1999, Cruachan began with a more obvious black metal influence that gave way to a more melodic, slickly produced approach to folk metal after their reformation. Together the band has recorded a total of six full-length albums and even released a “best of” in 2007.

Here be the track Ungoliant from the band’s 2006 release, The Morrigan’s Call:


04) Thin Lizzy

Surely you know Thin Lizzy! Talk about influence! Talk about legendary! This Lizzy is probably the most well know of of Ireland’s heavy exports and righty so. Since 1969, Thin Lizzy has released a total of 12 studio albums and dozens of singles, DVDs, EPs and demos. Sadly, in 1986 Thin Lizzy’s main man, the iconic Phil Lynott, passed away and, though the band has seen a few reincarnations since his death and still continues to this day, it’s just not quite the same.

So, from the Lynott days, enjoy the title track off their 1978 EP release, Whiskey in the Jar:  


03) Darkest Era

Darkest Era is a recent discovery of mine, but one I’ve not gone more than a week without listening to since said discovery. Formed in 2005 in Belfast and currently housed on Metal Blade Records, the band released their first full-length, The Last Caress of Light, just this year. If you have not checked this release out, do yourself a favor and do so immediately!

Here’s Darkest Era’s music video for The Morrigan (EP version). Enjoy: 


02) Eternal Helcaraxe

Wow, what can I say about Eternal Helcaraxe? They are amazing. They are from Ireland (Duh!) They are a recent find and a recent favorite. They are one of only two (I think) bands on this list that don’t have a song or album titled The Morrigan, or Morrigan’s something, et al. In fact, they don’t even have an album at all. All that is available from this band is two little demos. The most recent of which, 2010’s To Whatever End, is a shining example of what is right in the world of black metal.

Here is the song Strike from that demo. Listen, love, repeat:



I know early on I said this list was in no particular order but look though it now, about the last four actually have been. So “no particular order” is loose term I used to avoid having to put this whole thing in order. It’s should come to no surprise then, that Primordial comes in at number one. If you already know and love Primordial, there’s no need to explain why the prestigious positioning. If you don’t, there is really nothing I could say to convince you that listening to the song Empire Falls couldn’t.

So, here’s that song off Primordial’s latest, To The Nameless Dead:


Happy St. Patty’s Day, everybody! Be safe tonight.

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About Josh Johns

Josh Johns's picture


Chief Editor and Writer for Metal CallOut. Favorite sub genre of heavy metal includes Black, Death, Folk and Traditional. Josh can be found at Google+.

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