Compelling conceptual rock based on a story of a child raised as a psychopath.

CIRCU5 is the project of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Steve Tilling. The debut album features guest performances from Dave Gregory (XTC, Big Big Train), Phil Spalding (Seal, Mick Jagger), Matt Backer (Julian Lennon, ABC), Alan van Kleef (Rachel Stamp, Ariel X), Johnny Warman (Peter Gabriel, Ringo Starr) and Andy Neve (Steve Hackett, Godley & Creme).



Check out these radio interviews with Steve Tilling discussing his music and influences...

Debut album of the year - it’s absolutely stunning.
— The Titus Jennings Experience
The brainchild of session guy/multi-instrumentalist Steve Tilling, Circu5 has been five years in the making. If this sharp, irreverent but hooky number is anything to go by – complete with XTC-esque sensibilities (and a guest appearance from actual XTC man Dave Gregory) it was well worth the time.
— Classic Rock (reviewing The Amazing Monstrous Grady)
Steve Tilling has made a compelling debut. It’s a tight, dark intelligent album… albeit one plentifully and carefully decorated with accessible hooks and melodies... the depth of Tilling’s wanderlust is his most progressive asset.

Tilling’s vocals evoke Trent Reznor in parts, but Circu5 should chime well with fans of Lonely Robot, Cosmograf and even Roger Waters and Tull.
— Prog
Being familiar with the band’s material my expectations were already high, however, I can honestly say that I’m blown away with what’s delivered and those expectations are easily surpassed. I have no doubt however that CIRCU5 are a band whose star will continue to rise and are definitely ones to look out for over the coming months.
— Live review - Down The Front Media
Superb album... check it out...
— Dave Gregory (Tin Spirits/Big Big Train/XTC)
An intriguing, ambitious and intricate piece of musical craft that deserves dissection through its layers.
— Louder Than War
Steve Tilling has arrived in a big way folks, so make sure you don’t miss this one.
— Sea of Tranquility
With top-quality production and superb musicianship, this album reeks of class and should be heard.
— Rocktopia
The only way to play this album is loud, proud, and with a massive smile on your face. 9 out of 10.
— Frame Music
If Steve was willing to bare his soul and pour everything he had into this album, how can you resist? There is a brilliance to the album as you listen all the way through… Circu5 runs through your veins like a shot of adrenaline.
— The Closet Concert Arena
“Kick ass… Exceptionally composed… Stunning…
— Metal Temple
“A courageous work.”
— True Metal
Brilliant... an amazing album.
— Album of the Month - Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal
This is a great album from Tilling. It is undoubtedly progressive rock, but it sometimes has an alternative edge to it - it’s almost punky at times. If you enjoy the likes of Mute Gods, Caligula’s Horse, Lonely Robot and so on, then you should check this out.
— Powerplay magazine (issue 204)
Circu5 is a most beautiful blend of alternative rock and progressive rock… the most enchanting of both worlds. 8.5/10
— Streetclip.TV
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for the ears – a successful debut that really tries to drive you crazy. 13 out of 15.
Very cool album.
— Dave Ling
CIRCU5 would unquestionably have been a huge ‘hit’ back in the day. And unlike some of Tilling’s prog contemporaries, who have a tendency to overegg – and often overcook – the pudding, it is equally palatable today. Impressive.
— Get Ready To Rock
You have to check this album. Go and listen quickly and judge for yourself.
— Background Magazine
Excellently conceived and brilliantly played original album.
— Pete Feenstra, The Pete Feenstra Feature
CIRCU5’s thoughtful story lines, raw and powerful music, progressive rock creativity and alt-rock muscle have produced an album that’s both big and clever.
— Dancing About Architecture
“Looking back on the work, you want to shout: why not earlier? The debut of CIRCU5 is a strong exclamation point and makes you want more.” (13 out of 15)
— Betreutes Proggen
Steve Tilling has given us a musical spectacle that will stand the test of time. Great songwriting combined with superb musicianship and a concept that works, CIRCU5 is a triumph.
— Progradar
Occasionally, you come across an album that’s quite special - CIRCU5 is one of those albums. It’s a wonderfully diverse album with more ideas and changes in direction than roadworks on spaghetti junction.
— The Lost Art, Midlands Metalheads Radio
Very well produced, written and performed, Circu5 is absolutely worthy of your attention.
— Dutch Progressive Rock Page (
Circu5 makes a good impression. A high level of music combined with an intriguing concept and great packaging.
— Mały Leksykon Wielkich Zespołów (MLWZ)
Great album… an everyday story of black ops and psychopath management.
— Progzilla Radio
It is a very good album, nice on the ears, some sterling work by the guests, great vocals by Steve Tilling, and definitely in the upper echelons of albums released in 2017.
— The Progressive Aspect
I strongly, strongly recommend you go out and pick this one up. For one thing, the packaging is incredible. But of course, at the end of the day, it’s the music. It’s absolutely brilliant, and I love the album.
— Stuffer White, Light Without Heat Radio Show
Tilling’s high level of talent is quite obvious. Although I am more attracted to the progressive elements of the album, hard rock lovers also get their money’s worth. Very well produced, written and performed, Circu5 is absolutely worthy of your attention.
— Profil Radio, Quebec

Full review

Decorated with accessible hooks...
— Permafrost
Well I learned that you can merge prog with really any other genre and come out with a winning formula IF you have the right person doing it. Circu5 is the work of a man who knows who he is as an artist and does what he likes doing. Circu5 is a really strong effort that might not be for everyone but it certainly should be given a chance by everyone. (8/10)
— Progressive Music Planet
It is not only extraordinary to listen to, but also more than does the job of immersing the listener in the dark, twisted, and at times disturbing world it aims to create.
— The Sound of the Crowd (Imogen Bebb)

Full review


Steve Tilling is so great at what he does...
— Colin Moulding, XTC, TC&I
Brilliant album, vocals, concept, musicianship, songwriting and recording. Brings me back to the great days of Cream and Caravan. The album is so great on every level. I think The Amazing Monstrous Grady number is one of the catchiest tracks I’ve ever heard... fantastic ‘single’ in prospect. Loved all of it as a Caravan fan from 1970
— Julian Gold
You may very well have made my favourite album of the last few years, crunchy AND groovy, not an easy combo to pull off. Also I’d guess you’re primarily a bass player from some of the bass lines you throw down, any band would be happy to have you in their line up. Thanks for making some fresh sounding music, if you do another I hope we don’t have to wait 5 years for it!
— Dave Blaskovich
My musical heart has been captured by your uplifting and poignant music, with its compelling underpinning story. Steve Tilling has highlighted in his brilliant Circu5 album that being a psycho might be more nurture than nature, especially as the psychological moulding of the chosen one invariably starts straight from birth, but it may be possible to find your way back (home).
— Martin Daly
So, the CD!! I LOVED it. I have listened to it twice now and I know it’s going to be one of those albums where the more you listen to it, the more you love it. Track 9 (the instrumental track), I think that would make an awesome track in some fast action movie. Particularly loved the first and last track on the album … just my cup of tea, folky and funky. But of course my favourite is the Amazing Monstrous Grady … such a tune … less of an ear worm, more of a lughole python!!
— Karen Potocki
A grand concept album featuring one of my favourite guitarists, Dave Gregory on some tracks. Great music, beautiful lush package, dark intense concept. More of this!
— Michael Whiteman
It’s a great album for rock fans and defies expectations when described as prog rock. It’s more than that; it’s a modern concept album; dark in places but with memorable tunes nodding towards Foo Fighters and King Crimson and with some very notable session musicians performing.
— Chris Waddell
People need this great album in their lives.
— Tony Woods
The album absolutely rocks and the artwork in the CD book was an excellent bonus.
— Chris Hobbs
Outstanding album! Inspired work throughout. Some awesome guest artists add flourishes to a very cohesive and accomplished effort. Whilst there are indeed standout tracks, it’s an album that can be enjoyed in its entirety, as every song both entertains and advances the narrative. Production is also top-notch with a warmth and clarity lacking on some recent new releases. Deserves widespread coverage, and hopefully it’s success will lead to a follow up sooner, rather than later.
— Paul New
It’s up there with the very best prog albums I have heard this year, or any other come to that. Big thumbs up from me.
— Mark Colton
F***ing. Awesome.
— Angie
Hugely impressed, a seriously great album, balanced with light and shade, impressive vocals and musicianship, clever lyrics, catchy hooks, top-class packaging and booklet to go with it as well. Can’t get some of the songs out of my head. Buy it!
— Jan Wojtowicz
Your album is so fabulous. I love it!
— Yoshinori Ishikawa
Just had my first listen to the new Circu5 album, and it blew me away. A prog masterpiece that’s up there with the finest of them. Great concept, fantastic songs and amazing production by Stu Rowe. I’ll be using this album for my production reference tracks in future. Great work all round and thank you for bringing Circu5 into the world.
— Matt Keeble
I’ve just got me a copy of your album and on first impressions it’s absolutely brilliant.
— Chris Hobbs
Got me a copy of this today - thanks Steve Tilling, it’s awesome.
— Nicky Benfield
It’s a great album for rock fans and defies expectations when described as prog rock. It’s more than that. It’s a modern concept album; dark in places but with memorable tunes nodding towards Foo Fighters and King Crimson.
— Chris Waddell
Got the CD this morning, it’s been blasting out of a Vauxhall Vivaro in the Newton Stewart area all day! Masterpiece!
— James Griffiths
Cracking album.
— Nick Gilder
When is the last time you bought a CD, read the booklet cover to cover, whilst listening to each track in sequence? Highly recommend you try it with this album (better than the Foo’s latest tunes IMHO) if you like a bit of ROCK. Seriously good tunes, awesome musicianship - just buy it. End of.
— Mikey P
Without doubt, CIRCU5 is the most luxurious CD concept that I own.
— Geoff Royall
I’ve been spending the last couple of hours listening to the debut album by Circu5. It’s a heady mixture of different rock styles; a touch of hard rock, a smidgen of metal, a bit of progressive... it’s lovely stuff. At times it reminds me of Foo Fighters, although I have to confess to enjoying the Circu5 album a whole lot more than the Foo Fighters’ current offering (Concrete and Gold), even though Dave Grohl’s latest is pretty decent. Steve’s work is just more intricate, deep and, frankly, a hell of lot more musically and lyrically interesting.

It’s a truly impressive piece of work. The most engaging characteristic of the whole work is the eclectic nature and the textured feeling of the album. It switches from pure hard rock to a soulful ballad with ease and Tilling’s voice is beautifully suited to both, with some sublime harmonies in the mix too.

I didn’t want to go into full on “review” mode, but I can’t enthuse enough about how good this music is. Steve has poured his heart and soul into this project - and, evidently, plenty of money too, as the CD package is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a huge credit to him in the days when it is getting more and more difficult to release music to a largely disinterested public that he has given so much of himself to a thoroughly worthwhile project. The packaging is beautiful and this truly feels like the culmination of a life’s ambition... which I’m sure it is.

If my ramblings aren’t enough to pique your interest, can I also mention that this album features guest appearances by Dave Gregory (XTC, Big Big Train), Phil Spalding (Mike Oldfield) and Andy Neve (Steve Hackett). This superbly written and performed suite of songs deserves as wide an audience as possible, so do me (and yourself) a favour and check out Steve Tilling’s Circu5.
— Andy Sweeney
Already purchased cd and can’t wait for the follow up. A “Triumph” doesn’t even start to cover it. Great music and superb concept. I am spreading the word with friends and I wish you luck with your future plans.
— Tony W

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