• A decade of challenge and change in Irish and Irish-American music

Top Irish-American albums of the decade

• Black 47: 'Trouble in the Land'

• Prodigals: 'Needs Must When the Devil Drives'

• Pierce Turner’s '3 Minute World'

• Enter the Haggis: 'Casualties of Retail'

• Dropkick Murphys: 'Blackout'

Top Irish albums of the decade

• U2’s 'All that you can’t Leave Behind'

• Afro Celt Sound System’s 'Volume 3: Further in Time'

• Saw Doctors 'The Cure'

• Sinead O’Connor’s 'Throw Down your Arms'

• 'VH1 Presents The Corrs: Live from Dublin'

Enter the Haggis probably thanks their lucky stars that they named their 2005 album "Casualties of Retail." The concept of retail chains dying obviously tickled the fancy of the Apple corporation, which is why it featured the album prominently on their iTunes site.

The Apple geeks were just catching on to what ETH fans knew all along; this was a ferocious band with thundering drums and furious fiddling that sound like Horslips on crack.

“Although we had several releases under our belt before "Casualties of Retail," this album was a very different beast,” says guitarist Trevor Lewington. “It was a big step up sonically because we chose to work with a well-known Canadian producer named Joao Carvalho, whereas our previous recordings were self-produced.  At this point in our careers, a self-produced album would be all right, but back then we were pretty green, so Joao's experience helped us achieve a much-better finished product than we would have by ourselves.  The music itself was also different from our previous albums for two main reasons: We added more world-music influences to the mix ,and our vocal harmonies were more sophisticated.”

From the metallic stomp of “Music Box” to the Appalachian hayseed of “Another Round,” this Canadian Scottish-Irish outfit touches on a dizzying array of textures to achieve a modern Celtic classic. Fiddles howl like lost souls moaning for a spare prayer while the band’s pristine harmonies, especially on the prog-rock instrumentals “Congress” and “Martha Stuart.” They slow things down briefly for an introspective “She Moved Through the Fair,” giving the listener a much-needed break from the ferocity.  

“We were definitely pretty proud of what we'd done at the time and were excited to get it to the fans,” Lewington says. “That being said, after listening to the same songs everyday for a month straight, you're happy for some time away from the music. Shortly after the album was released, it was clearly a fan favorite and tracks such as ‘Gasoline,’ ‘Down with The Ship,’ and ‘Congress’ stood out as ‘hits’ for the band.”   

Casualties launched the band into the Celtic stratosphere, landing high on Billboard and iTunes World Music chart positions, as well as major television appearances on shows like "Live With Regis And Kelly," "A&E Breakfast with the Arts" and PBS’ popular program "Out of Ireland," with its multi-influence style of Celtic rock. It’s the kind of overall sound and devotion package that has created not only die-hard fans, but “Haggis Heads” that follow the band from gig to gig. ETH also gives back to the community by putting out Rootstomp compilations that offer a showcase to lesser known Celtic bands.

The band has been together in its current incarnation since its members met in the early 2000s in Toronto, where more than half the band was studying its craft in the city’s colleges and universities.The band is currently touring behind their latest album, "Gutter Anthems," which was released last March. True to form, they have been on the road touring it pretty hard ever since.

“It's hard to think about another album at this point, but we've tried to release one every two to three years and are constantly writing as individuals,” Trevor says. “On the non-album front, we'll be touring through the U.S. and Canada, and are doing a trip to Ireland in March that we are inviting people to join us on.”

For more information on the band or their trip to Ireland, log onto www.enterthehaggis.com.