As I have said repeatedly on the site in the last few weeks, I love EP’s. There’s nothing much that makes me happier than when a great EP turns up in the MVM inbox.

Except maybe a three-piece, especially if that trio was a band with so much ambition that they haven’t even begun to consider what would happen if they didn’t make it big.

In which case, Circle Of Crows, I have to salute you, because, brother, they tick all these boxes and write their own rulebook along the way.

Young bands – ones that have only been formed for a year, no less – aren’t supposed to do things like this. They aren’t supposed to have lead songs that amount to six-minute statements of intent and a trawl through their private hell.

No one told Circle Of Crows, and that’s the point.

“How To Wait For Nothing” begins with a bit of a swagger, but all new bands do. What only – as far I as know, anyway – CoC do is by the first bridge have their singer offering: “life goes on, try and say that when you’ve lost as much as me….” As a salvo. Never mind Circle Of Crows, this is pure Counting Crows. “Well, there is nobody else. She is gone and I won’t ever get her back” opens the next verse and there is a sense that you are intruding on Kyle Gormley’s diary here – but he does a wonderful job.

Oh, and speaking of things that young bands don’t do, they probably don’t have (again as far as I know) a bass solo in the first song they release.

You can forget convention here. Maybe it’s because they’re from Cornwall and are used to doing things their own way (mind you, I always thought they were chilled out surfer dudes in Newquay?) but those with a formula need not apply. This has as many twists and turns and idiosyncrasies as Faith No More at their very best – and there are bits of “Broken Children” which are ferociously heavy, all the while maintaining a melody and a crunch.

“Into The Sun” is one of those ballads that I often rather glibly refer to as “arena filling” but in this case that’s apt. A bit of Biffy here, a pinch of Soundgarden there and the type of soaring not seen since Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon were in top gear, while as if to exemplify the fact that this is not a band you want to second guess the title track is an alt.rock masterclass,  one that Coheed And Cambria would kill for. The track also – perhaps – fleshes their mission statement out a bit. “Stand up and speak your mind, when was the last time you had a voice?” spits Gormley with clear contempt.

Without a modicum of independence, then music like this doesn’t get made. “Nightmare Cinema” (a name Dream Theater used to use for their in-house covers band) does everything from deep despair to metal gallop, while further proof that this is arguably the most ambitious of all the underground bands comes in the shape of the closing “Open Doors”. Calmly coming in at seven minutes long, this is not the work of an outfit that fancies playing pubs for the next decade and entering Metal To The Masses five times to get on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock thanks to a sympathy vote. This is a band that wants it all. And as quick as you like, please.

Whether it happens, time will tell. What I’ll say here is that “Everything Comes After Zero” is one of the best debut EP’s for a long time and Circle Of Crows deserve to fly. A very long way indeed.

Rating 9/10


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