Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Best Albums You Never Heard

By Kurt Torster

Tour De Force “World On Fire” (198?)

More a set of demos strung together rather than a proper complete album, it doesn’t negate the fact that this is some of the best arena sized pomp that’s ever graced my ears.

I first came across this band on one of my weekly trips to the Village in New York City, St. Mark’s Place to be more exact. There, me and an ever revolving group of friends would scour places like Sounds or Rock N’ Roll Heaven for all the imports, demos and promo items we could get our hands on. One trip in 1989 scored me a 4 song cassette EP by Long Island’s Tour De Force, which I knew of by name at least from seeing their giant full page ads in rags like the Aquarian.

Most of the demos I would pick up over the years never amounted to much (save for a little known group called Hollywood Rose, which would go on to become Guns N’ Roses). But, this cassette just captivated me and because a permanent fixture in my car. In particular, songs like the bouncy “Back To You” or the MEGA ballad “Coming Home” brought to mind the finest moments of Danger Danger or Night Ranger. Soaring vocalist Chali Cayte simply sounds like he was born for this.

The disc itself kicks off with the Michael Bolton penned “Tonight,” and like the majority of songs here is an infectious keyboard dominated rocker that should have had filled arenas fist pumping rather than becoming something of a lost legend (like their NYC brethren Aviator or Prophet).

Songs like “If It’s Over” or “Rough Boy” keep the winning streak going with songs that are about as 80s as you can get, yet no matter when I spin this set, it sounds as fresh as the day I first purchased that EP. Though it loses some steam in the middle of the disc, at 17 songs it’s a bit expected and trimming it to an even dozen would have been a better bet.

If hard rock dominated by layer upon layer of keyboards is your thing and a band name like Giuffria or Shy gets you foaming at the mouth, you’ll wonder how this lot slipped under your radar.

Recently reissued yet again just the other week through AOR Heaven, I honestly have no idea what happened to any of the members of this group. Though their actual self-titled debut for Geffen eventually saw the light of day, from what I hear it’s a mostly avoidable affair that doesn’t touch the potential of what most of these demos offered.

Find more info on Tour De Force here.

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