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Tour De Force – World On Fire [1995]


TOUR DE FORCE’s second album “World On Fire” came out in 1995 is the hell of a melodic rock album. The songs for this album were recorded prior to their debut album around 1989-1990 and deliver sensational melodic rock music in vein of Network, Red Dawn and Garbo Talks with a pompus AOR touch, driven by delicate keyboard sound and harmonic guitar layer. Most of these songs become legendary in the AOR underground, and tapes were being passed around  worldwilde. They were an upstart AOR band with stars in their eyes and some killer material for everyone’s ears.

This set was recorded by singer Charlie “Chali” Cayte (Without Love, Heyday, Van Helsing) with his emotional and pure domination voice, quite similar to Sammy Hagar, the tasteful guitars of Christian Palladino provided us an exceptional guitarwork with many flashy solos, the lovely keyboard fills of Alex Salz (Your Name Hear, Ted Poley), the thumping rhythm section of bassist Bill Froelich and drummer Bill Pauly (Straight Wired) that gave us a superb example of melodic rock at it’s best before they disbanded and went their seperate ways but leaving their little mark on the world of melodic rock, a world that should have been blown open by them, but was not.

Back to this album, 17 songs comprise the entirety of “World On Fire” with a great balance between AOR and hard rock where you keep discovering new details, starts with the much beloved opener “Tonight” penned by Michael  Bolton and originally exclusive to the 1995 Japanese version. The song is golden, beautifully constructed with feather touches, crunchy riffs, screaming solos, powerful lead vocals by Cayte, with a spectacular flurry of  keyboards coming on strong and a sensational songwriting cumulate to a highly explosive mixture. “Back To You” and the killer title track “World On Fire” continues in the same style provide a high degree of professionalsim here. Songs full of great keyboard-heavy melodic rock style with catchy choruses, sympathetic lyrics, token guitar solos, even key solos, lots of harmony backing vocals, catchy guitar rhythms, smoothing over the edge for some truly delightful musical samples of AOR brilliance, followed by “Coming Home” one of the best rock ballads of all time, with a delightly pompus keyboard solo, rich rounded vocals and heartbreakingly gorgeous lyrics. “Shot Down” and the wonderful midtempo pomp-rock with Asia touch “Hold On”, are songs with catchy and memorable choruses, tough guitar sound and a rocking demeanor filled with great hooks and spectacular keys.

Songs with a streamlined slice of AOR that spins one hook after another in dizzying succession. Simply great tracks!!! “If It’s Over” is another lovely song that finds a fiery heart to compliment its hushed quieter moments. Another fantastic chorus splits this open  like a melodic dream with a perfect harmony guitar work, outstanding keys and the perfect vocal performance by Cayte has its own charm with the microphone. One of the finnest moment of the album comes with the song “Sweet Adeline”, a  song that will cut your breath. A potent track, an AOR masterwork that makes bedfellows of a dominant rhythm riff, a  stinging catchy chorus and a cascading guitar solo that is bliss in electric beauty. The lyrics are painted in finality of a love affair and the hooky guitar sweeps in like a soul purging flood of joyous delight. A really masterpiece!!!

The first part of the album closed by “”Stranger In The Night” and “Cruise Control”. “Cruise Control” is an asphalt smoking urgent melodic rock with strong guitars that make way for the surprising dynamite of its bouncing chorus while on “Stranger In This Town” the style is entirely different, an in-your-face full frontal assault hard rock with massive guitars makes you jarring and off-center amongst the massively melody makers that came before it. A really catchy track. The last seven songs aren’t quite as killer but still remain solid enough to listen to the end. The highlight song of them is definetely “Forgotten Heroes”, one of my personal anthems of the disk. A song owes its heart to the lyrical  punch than the unique musical finesse, as it is fairly straight forward but quite tight all the same. Great rhythm guitar riffs,nice keys and an amazing refrain with perfect backing vocals make it a memorable song in my mind and in my heart. The “Rough Boy” wording sound silly and out of place, an awkward growing pain despite the sharp connection to british sound with bands such as FM and Shy. A soft AOR that pours on the chorus while on “Runaway” we have an acoustic

opening before the great rocking refrain. The song talking about a teenager youngster that forsakes house and home for sake of survival. An effective track handled perfectly that could have spelled cheesy disaster so easily. Cool Tune. “One More Time” a ballad with great tune and nice key/piano performance unlike with “Wings And A Prayer” an extremely power melodic rock in realm of Fifth Angel with strong piercing guitars and an epic chorus gallops into epic anthem  territory lightened by a keyboard assault solo. A great song that shows another face of the band. “Lady Midnight” is our semifinal track opens with a great key intro and great guitars on the back. A midtempo song that evokes forgotten lust as memories bubble and stir. The chorus is sharp and on point with heated and pleading vocals. Our finally track is “Got To Know”, a monstrus melodic rock song having a pleasant and straight forward rock tumbler manner with a great solo, good guitar riffs and a remarkable chorus.

This album was and still is definitive, and up until now has not been eclipsed and I doubt very much if it will. An unheard of band, with a cd full of demos, released by a disappointed fan (friend) who did not forget, but remembered what should have been…If you like melodic rock with punch and hook laiden songs, then you have to own this gem. One of the best.

Band Members
Alex Salz – Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Billy Froehlich – Bass
Billy Pauly – Drums, Percussion
Chali Cayte – Lead Vocals
Christian Palladino – Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals

01. Tonight (4:05)
02. Back To You (3:29)
03. World On Fire (4:29)
04. Coming Home (4:44)
05. Hold On (3:35)
06. If It’s Over (4:35)
07. Sweet Adeline (3:49)
08. Stranger In The Night (4:15)
09. Cruise Control (4:27)
10. Shot Down (3:41)
11. Rough Boy (4:33)
12. Runaway (4:54)
13. One More Time (5:39)
14. Wing And A Prayer (4:53)
15. Lady Midnight (5:47)
16. Got To Know (4:08)
17. Forgotten Heroes (4:14)

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