SORTILÈGE is considered the best French heavy metal band of the 80s and was for years the reason for someone to study the French scene, and discover other great bands, such as NIGHTMARE or LUST. But none of them was adored the same way; SORTILÈGE were loved so much, that their native-language albums are preferred by the fans to the respective English versions, even though heavy metal in the 80s was dominated and characterized by the English language.
“Larmes de héros” was the second full-length album of SORTILÈGE and unfortunately, it was their last, as they disbanded afterwards. The album had the difficult role to follow the previous two releases, the “Sortilège” EP and especially the “Métamorphose” debut, which had already started to create the myth of the band. Songs such as “Sortilège”, “Majesté” (one of the best songs of all time) and “Délire d’un fou”, had made the band quite popular during the 80s mostly in Germany, and to those in the U.S. interested in the underground scene– don’t forget the song “Evil Dead” from DEATH‘s first album, which featured the intro from SORTILÈGE’s track “Amazone”.
But “Larmes de héros” did it just fine, and even though it was simpler than the debut and did not have that passionate heavy metal atmosphere with the endless guitar solos of its predecessor, it managed to stand the test of time. Nowadays, it is rightfully considered not just as a very good album, but among the most classic heavy metal albums of the 80s.
Back then, the fans found it a bit too melodic or hard rock for SORTILÈGE but this was a little unfair; songs such as the amazing hymn “La hargne des tordus” could be easily placed in the bands’ debut. But also, “Chasse le dragon”, “Messager” and “Marchand d’hommes” are too good heavy metal tracks, full of melodies, to go unnoticed. Christian Augustin, on the other hand, still sounds great, less epic compared to the debut, but again his voice is among the highlights of the album.
“Larmes de héros” was a shame that did not reach the status nor gained the reputation of SORTILÈGE’s previous albums, but is by all means, a great album with some of the bands’ best songs. This re-issue on vinyl and CD is a very good chance for someone to discover the album, or to remember how beautiful heavy metal was back then.
“Deep into obscurity
For so many years
So far from reality