I firmly believe that when SORTILEGE formed in the early 80’s never imagined the impact they would have in the French Metal Scene. Indeed, not only they managed to become one of the premier French speaking bands around the globe, but also they made three albums that would become popular in English speaking markets.
“Larmes de Heros” is the band’s third and final album, until the recent reformation of course, and it would mark a small swift towards a more melodic sound. Indeed, though SORTILEGE were recognisable for the epic/occult/dramatic atmosphere, at least in their first two releases this album is somewhat brighter, a little bit more “commercial”, a sound that could become appreciated from a wider audience. Don’t get me wrong, SORTILEGE are still heavy, still aggressive, the trademark dramatic style vocals are still there, however there are songs like “Mourir pour une Princesse“, “La Montagne qui Saigne” or “Messager” that consist of catchy choruses and more simplistic guitar themes.
However, beside these “hits”, lurks the sinister sound of SORTILEGE‘s early years, for example the splendid “Chasse le Dragon” or the absulutely stunning “Marchand d’Hommes” that pulverise the ignorant listener.
Needless to say, that the French lyrics fit perfectly, and together with the stunning guitar work create a flawless album. Above all, “Larmes de heros” is a testament of the uniqueness of the French metal scene and an album that no one should pass by.
Along with the French version, came an English one, “Hero’s Tears“, a tendency for bands that come from non English speaking countries in order to compete in the global market. A unwanted nessessity if you ask me, yet I understand that this is they way that music industry used to work.
Conserning the music part, its pretty much the same with what I wrote for the French version: the sound is more sophisticated, a little bit brighter, more commercial, catchy, etc.
There is also a difference in the track rotation, for example “Win her heart” (Fr: “Mourir pour une Princesse“) is the second track, guessing that the record company aimed for a radio hit.
The English version is not bad, however I do believe that its “less interesting”: the songs maintain their music value, however they sound more “common” or should I say less “SORTILEGE”. Yet the distinctive vocals of Christian Augustin with a beloved French accent are there along with the recognisable guitar harmonies.
To sum up, I would say that the Enlgish album should be considered as a bonus or an apprendix to the original album and a testament of how the music industry used to work.