Sortilège - Larmes De Héros

01. La Hargne Des Tordus
02. Chasse Le Dragon
03. Le Dernier Des Travaux D'Hercule
04. Quand Un Aveugle Rêve
05. Mourir Pour Une Princesse
06. La Montagne Qui Saigne
07. Marchand D'Hommes
08. Messager
09. La Huitième Couleur De L'Arc En Ciel
10. Saggitarius (Le Dernier Des Travaux D'Hercule) [Instrumental version] [bonus]
11. Elephant Man (La Hargne Des Tordus) [English version] [bonus]
12. Win Her Heart (Mourir Pour Une Princesse) [English version] [bonus]
13. Flesh And Bones (Marchand D'Hommes) [English version] [bonus]

Sortilege: Larmes De Héros

France, the land of good cheeses and awesome wines, has never been renowned for its metal scene. In fact, maybe if it changed a little bit these days with the growing French Black Metal scene or a major band like Gojira, but in the eighties metal was more associated with Great-Britain, USA, Germany or even Sweden than France. Happily, this didn't prevent France from having a Metal upsurge at the beginning of this infamous decade with bands such as Satan's Jokers, Vulcain and, of course, Sortilege. This last band had everything to succeed: good composition skills; an awesome singer that some critics dared to compare to Rob Halford; and guitarists with an impressive sense of melody. But, singing in French, not comfortable in their attempts to sing in Shakespeare's language and lacking the support of any serious record company, in 1986 Sortilege decided to disband after roughly five years, leaving one Demo, one EP and two awesome full-length albums. Almost forgotten as of 2010, Chuck Schuldiner's favorite band deserved more than this. That is why your humble slave is here today; to make you discover one of the best traditional Heavy Metal albums I've heard in my life, their very last album Larmes De Héros.

The first thing one notices as the first song "La Hargne Des Tordus" kicks off is the awesome voice of Thomas "Zouille" Augustin and the way the vocal melodies blend perfectly with the music. This may be a little difficult to figure out if you don't speak French, but let me tell you it's a lot more difficult to write lyrics that fit the Heavy Metal format in French than in English. That's what makes Zouille's work even more impressive: his fantasy inspired lyrics fit the music flawlessly and his amazing voice soars above the music like an eagle flying over the Alps creating catchy choruses and mind blowing verses for all the songs.

The other musicians are not to be forgotten. In fact, this album could be seen as a lesson in composing great Heavy Metal songs. The guitar riffs and soli, responsibility of Stéphane Dumont and Didier Dem, are ecstatic, precise, original and are matching the vocal melodies described above in an almost unbelievable way. The rhythmic section with Daniel Lapp on bass and Bob Snake on Drums provide a strong basis for the guitar ability demonstration mentioned above while taking all the place they deserve. The result is an album with no filler, satisfying from the beginning to the end with perfectly crafted and varied song structures. The production, a work of Karl Trapp and Vic Vergeat at Karo Music Studios in Germany, is very good and can stand (in some cases win) the comparison with any other album I've heard from 1986.

In conclusion, even if that album disappointed some fans of the band when it came out because it focused more on songwriting and melodies than on raw aggression, it was still critically acclaimed and I can perfectly understand why each time I listen to it. This is a suggestion for metal connoisseurs who want to expand their horizons discovering an eighties heavy metal hidden gem with the originality of French lyrics.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9

Band profile: Sortilège
Album: Larmes De Héros


written by Winterthrone | 06.10.2010

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


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Marcel Hubregtse - 14.10.2010 at 22:33  
My God how I hate this album, especially compared to the classic and debut. This was clearly an album trying to break open the American market with it's simplistic song lines and such.
Marcel Hubregtse - 14.10.2010 at 22:34  
Btw this album was NOT critically acclaimed at the time it was released. Only Kerrang was positive and they were a joke already at the time. All other metal mags slagged off this album.
Winterthrone - 15.10.2010 at 23:13  
Ok, did you read the review or you just rant about the overall note I gave to this IMO wonderful piece of music. I said in the review that the album contained perfectly crafted songs with CATCHY CHORUSES and that's what I like about it. So you're not gonna convince me this is a bad album using the same argument. Ok maybe not all metal mags were positive about the album, but why was Kerrang! a joke? Cause they didn't write what you wanted to read? If your not lying on your profile you are 42 years old, that means you were about 18 years old when it came out. A lot of people grow up between 18 years old and 42 years old, so I suggest you give this album a spin again, maybe you will be able to appreciate the amazing talent that is SONGWRITING today.
Marcel Hubregtse - 15.10.2010 at 23:17  
I did give it a spin again quite a few months ago when I finally got hold of the vinyl of the e.p., just to see if I still found it as bad and sell out. And unfrtunately for the album I did.
Kerrang wasn't a joke because of their review of the album but because of the stuff they featured, like all sorts of gossip collumns abut also for their reviews at the time. You should have read how praising they were of Poison and other such pop and how they basked the classic Metallica, Slayer etc albums at the tme of release. There other European metal mags were on the ball.
Problem with this album is that the catchy songs they produce here made them sound like a dime a dozen forsaking their own unique sound of the ep and full length.
Winterthrone - 15.10.2010 at 23:21  
And what you say doesn't even make sense, how would they break the American market with French lyrics? I know there was an English version but it sold less than the French version so your argument doesn't stand the test of reality. Every time a band becomes catchier doesn't mean they try to break the American market. And I found a bunch of other reviews that are positive about this album and none that are 'slagging off' thios album. I think you confound your tastes with universal thoughts.
Winterthrone - 15.10.2010 at 23:26  
Ok I understand where you come from, but man I don't think they sound like a dime a dozen and that they forsake the sound of their other releases, There are similiraties with these other releasees but more variety in style and yes it's less aggressive but the choruses got printed in my mind the first time I listened to it, not even Maiden achieved this with me!
fenchik - 07.12.2012 at 00:24  
I really love the album! And Zouille is a Great Singer too! Sortilege was the best French Band with ADX and Trust at the time!!!

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