I think it’s safe to say that 2017 has been a horrific year for everything other than music. Though the world might be coming to an end, at least we can go out listening to some awesome tunes. While a couple of genres seem to have had a dry spell, others have put out ton of incredible content this year, Celtic punk in particular.
Here is our list for our top pics of 2017.
Album Of The Year – Ensiferum – Two Paths
Our 2017 choice for album of the year, goes to Two Paths by Ensiferum. This is the band’s seventh studio release, and features a fantastic blend of metal, rock, harsh, and clean vocals. It is probably one of their most diverse and variegated works so far and it has a bit of everything for everyone. Full Review
Celtic Punk / Folk Punk Album Of The Year – The Tossers – Smash The Windows
In 2017 we’ve seen a full studio release from all the major Celtic punk bands. The Tossers, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, and Flatfoot 56. Normally I would say this would be a very difficult decision, but Smash The Windows was just so incredibly good, that this one was a no-brainer. And that’s saying something considering how much we love those other three major releases as well. (Especially Life Is Good)
Folk Metal Album Of The Year – Eluveitie – Evocation II Pantheon
Evocation II Pantheon, is the follow-up album to the band’s 2009 release, Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion. The album is once again an acoustic released based on Celtic mythology and deities, with a bit of a more softer sound. We were thoroughly impressed with Fabiennes amazing vocal work, as well as the over all production of the album. Though there has been another massive shakeup within the band, Eluveitie has shown us with this release that they’re not handing over the crown anytime soon.
Rock / Roots Album Of The Year – Larkin Poe – Peach
Larkin Poe consists of sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell, who managed to create music with a diverse feel and a lot of passion. Their recent album, “Peach”, features some cool originals, as well as a selection of stunning renditions of blues classics, interpreted in the key of rock and roll.
Power Metal Album Of The Year – Brothers Of Metal – Prophecy of Ragnarök
Prophecy of Ragnarök was a strong contender for album of the year, as well as best debut. Actually, at this point we may as well as consider it the best EP, and the best folk album, and just give it all the awards because this was a fantastic release. This release has everything we want in a power metal album, including outstanding musicianship, and great songwriting. Brothers of Metal are a group you want to keep an eye on.
Celtic Album Of The Year – Sharon Shannon – Sacred Earth
Sharon Shannon took a very slight new direction with Sacred Earth, in which she mixed in some various world styles along with the traditional Irish influences that she’s known for. Sharons unique style stays true throughout the album, while adding just enough for variety for a totally fresh new take on her arrangements.
Folk / Americana Album Of The Year – Órla Fallon – Sweet By And By
Speaking of taking a new direction, Celtic artist Órla Fallon released an amazing collection of folk and Americana hymns with her latest album, Sweet By and By. While both styles of music share a lot of similarities, this was a pretty big difference from what were normally used to hearing from Órla, and it was absolutely phenomenal.
Classical / Symphonic Album Of The Year – Tarja Turunen – From Spirits And Ghost (Score for a Dark Christmas)
Tarja Turunen set out to release a spontaneous, authentic and well-performed Christmas album that’s far from the slick holiday-themed music out there. The songs featured on this release have a deep, warm and almost mystical tone, diving further into the true spirit of Christmas and the way it allows people to bond together and share special moments.
Collection / Compilation Album Of The Year – The High Kings – Decade: Best Of The High Kings
Though there were some pretty amazing collection albums released this year, our favorite is hands down this release by The High Kings. Along with some new tracks, Decade: The Best of the High Kings, showcases some of the bands incredible work over the past 10 years. We feel the fans are absolutely going to love this collection, and it is essential for new listeners of traditional Irish folk.
Best Debut Album Of 2017- Cellar Darling – This Is The Sound
When Ivo Henzi, Merlin Sutter and Anna Murphy announced their split from Eluveitie, many in the Folk metal scene were biting their nails. Though they bounced back very quickly and gave us a new band, Cellar Darling. As much as I love Eluveitie, I was not looking for an Eluveitie Jr. Thankfully, that’s not at all what we were given. Cellar Darling is breathing new life into the Folk Rock scene and “This is The Sound” has certainly made a powerful statement.
Best EP – ShamRocks – Ye Olde Chariot
ShamRocks takes the amped-up folk/rock approach most of us discovered via The Pogues and gives it modern rock energy. It’s a sound that must be mighty, indeed, in the confines of a bar or small venue. Tell everyone you know to buy this EP, They can thank you later.
Top 20 Albums of 2017
Below you’ll find even more of albums we felt stood out this past year.
(Note: Albums are not listed in any particular order)