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World On Fire

Track Listing
1. Tonight
2. Back To You
3. World on Fire
4. Coming Home
5. Hold On
6. If It's Over
7. Sweet Adeline
8. Strangers in the Night
9. Cruise Control
10. Shot Down
11. Rough Boy
12. Runaway
13. One More Time
14. Wing and a Prayer
15. Lady Midnight
16. Got to Know
17. Forgotten Heroes

FEMS/Far East Metal Syndicate 1995

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More Releases by Tour De Force:
Tour De Force (1992)
Un-Released (2000)
Related Releases (in sound)
Silent Rage - Don't Touch Me There (1988)
Prophet - Circle of the Moon (1986)
Shy - Excess All Areas (1986)


After listening to six months of almost straight AOR, you begin to get jaded after awhile. How many more twists can be put on an old thing but still be 'now'? Not to mention sifting through all the dusty material that had been left by the wayside in the turbulent 80s and in the early 90s 'playing in tune' musical wasteland. It becomes apparent that the grip on reality is becoming lost when it all starts to blend into one montonous memory of same ol' rinse repeat. Catchy chorus, token guitar solo, back on track, get it together, lay on those synthesizer tricks and beat that chorus to death all under four minutes. Radio hit right? For the most part 'no'. You see, there's often a reason why some bands don't make it big. They just don't have the look - that all important image that makes consumers *want* to listen. That little gimmick that attracts attention to be poured into the videos. An individual sound that people can pick up on and recognize.

Then finally in the wee hours as I was giving up hope on yet another genre comes Tour De Force. We're not talking about their rehash disc or the bland and boring debut that fits somewhere with the lost metal children of yesterday... nope, this is the cream of the crop, the most sought after of the bunch, the elusive yet celebrated "World On Fire".

As always there's a story behind the music, not to mention the hype and hysteria to push it into infamy. And it goes like this:

Once upon a time, back in the late 80s, when hairspray was everywhere and leather was the must have accessory of the latter part of the "me" decade, there was this band, called Tour De Force. They were an upstart AOR band with stars in their eyes and some killer material for everyone's ears. TDF recorded a demo and passed it around about the time of the year 1990. Rough as it was, it was good. Not only good, but of killer status, and a few labels were hot to trot to sign the guys and get a real disc out of them. Remember, the airways were still primed for melodic rock. Only the disc the guys packed into the studio to record had little in common with their demos and two years later, in the final days of metal in the mainstream in the last stand against Nirvana in 1992, Tour De Force's self titled bomb squeaked out the door and sank like a rock thrown in the ocean. Never to be seen again as it was carried out to tide. It wasn't terrible, but the words painfully average do come to mind, and the band followed in the path of the album they released by disappearing from existance in a hurry.

The self titled debut (and what would become their first and final fling simultaneously) never gave a clue at how good these guys were. The emotional vocals and pure domination of Chali Cayte, the tasteful guitars of Christian Palladino, the lovely keyboard fills of Alex Salz, the thumping rhythm section of bassist Bill Froelich and drummer Bill Pauly that gave the cushy pop music its rock roots...they disbanded and went their seperate ways. The world thought they had heard the end of Tour De Force... the band that brought new meaning to 'what could have been'. Their earlier demos had been so good that they were reckoned to be the best thing "ever" to be releeased as demos. But thanks to some AOR fans who thought the outfit shouldn't end on such a low note, "World On Fire" was compiled and released.

The band drew comparisions to a slew of acts and by the time you piece them all together, you are still missing a bit of the puzzle. Night Ranger, Prophet, Dokken ("Under Lock and Key" mind you, not that new fangled stuff), the almost forgotten one-offers Red Dawn, the LA stylings of Silent Rage and the smoother double entendre masters Danger Danger, Europe's best kept secret TNT, Jeff Scott Soto's Eyes, and let's throw Journey in 'just because all AOR roads to lead to Journey' or some such nonsense. Chali Cayte is a mixture of many vocalists as well, difficult to pinpoint this one as he runs through several different sounds and ends up as a bit of Jeff Scott Soto and Thomas Vikstrom mixed in, but there's roughness there too that neither of the mentioned singers possess. Its a good mix indeed, but some may find him a bit too dominating for their tastes. Main songwriter Palladino has an ear for catchy rhythms and loads every song up with them, smoothing over the edges for some truly delightful musical samples of AOR brilliance. The grooves are effortless.


17 tracks of top tier AOR as classy as you'll likely ever hear. Packed with sizzling material such as the smooth Shy-like structures as the booming "Hold On" and the giant rock ballad "Coming Home" which some have gone so far as to give it props as being one of the best ballads of all time (now that's high praise!). "Stranger in the Night" is hard and thumping rock'n'roll, with a brazen metal base, no frills or holds barred. "Cruise Control" with its 'kick back and relax' chorus is wild and rather free, running with carefully constructed presence and pumped up excitement all smacked into high gear by the urgent rhythm guitar and Chali's burning vocals. Its one of the perfect drivin' on the highway songs. "Walk Away" is mid tempo AOR, slick as glass with a chorus just as sharp as the jagged edge. Hold your hats for "World On Fire" a smoldering rock anthem sporting some razor electric work and keyboard fills every where you glance, supporting the pompous over the top chorus with its undeniable infectiousness.

"Lady Midnight" is a gorgeous piece of a song, with its mysterious atmospheric opening then moving into wide open jaw dropping territory with the settling easy on the palate verses and instrumental play between synth and guitar. "Wing and a Prayer" is pure hard rock stuff, the axeslinging aggressive and rather harsh, the vocals crushing with their 'near screech' quality and a plethora of keys to lighten up the proceedings. "Runaway" is a different beast entirely, combining thick slamming areas that pummel the senses with light and stripped down winding acoustic areas, bounced up into a melodic fantasy land with its heartstopping chorus that sees a return to the fluff and pomp the band executes so well. "One More Time" is another cuddly ballad-esque piece, cute, quaint and unintrusive. It settles the nerves and provides marshmellow comforting clouds to dream away on. A bit of Survivor and Danger Danger's quiet moments on this one. More keyboard excess and catchy hooks for the uptempo, "Forgotten Heroes", which brings the disc to a comfortable, yet eerie closure, since Tour De Force themselves could be described as AOR's "forgotten heroes".


After seventeen tracks of wonderful music that was deemed not good enough to be committed to an official release, it leaves one wondering who's decision it was to axe this stuff and release what became Tour De Force's self titled album instead of some of these tracks from the all-around stellar "World On Fire". Fortunately it wasn't the last we heard from the band, as another compilation of unreleased cuts was put out by Kivel a few years back with the imaginative name... "Unreleased". It was a bit on the heavier side, but also a must-have for fans of the genre. "World On Fire" is still tops however, but a bit of a hard to come by rarity now, as its highly sought after and there are not that many copies floating around. If you can run it down though, there's alot of promise that it will become one of the gems of your AOR collection.

Ratings and Wrap Up:

Hot Spots: "Cruise Control", "Lady Midnight", "Hold On"
Bottom Line: 17 songs of top class AOR... yep, this album is stacked!

Review by Alanna Evans -

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