Groundbreaking Dutch Cult Metallers Vortex
celebrate their 40th anniversary with a 10-song collection of hard-hitting, anthemic metal called Them Witches. A collection of songs unearthed from 1987, Them Witches will be released in North America on September 27 via Gates of Hell Records (a Cruz Del Sur Music imprint).
Dutch heavy metal originators Vortex have scratched and clawed their way through the underground, emerging with Them Witches. One of the first practitioners of heavy metal in the Netherlands, Vortex formed in 1979, a time when the style was a blank canvas. Influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, the early compositions of founding member and primary songwriter Martjo “Whirwolf” Brongers revealed a band capable of writing powerful, harmony-dominated metal that would quickly make Vortex a cult favorite in their home country. Since their appearance on 1982’s Holland Heavy Metal Vol. 2 – Live in Brouwershoeck, Vortex has steadfastly flown the Dutch metal flag, never chasing trends and always remaining true to themselves. Although mainstream and commercial acceptance has forever eluded the band, Vortex hasn’t lasted 40 years by sheer luck. Them Witchesis a testament to the forever-burning flame of old-school metal.
In 2018, Brongers digitized the band’s old demos. Along the way, he uncovered songs originally intended for the band’s third album, which was supposed to see the light of day in 1987. Realizing the potential of these songs, Brongers called vocalist Jurjen “Thunderforce” Tichelaar with the idea to re-record the demos in preparation for the band’s 40th anniversary. Tracked at Soundlodge Studios in Germany, the resultant Them Witches is a ten-song platter of tried-and-true, anthemic metal cuts, guided by soaring twin-guitar harmonies and festival-ready sing-alongs. From headstrong NWOBHM gallops to mid-tempo romps and everything in between, Them Witches honors the timeless art of pure, no-frills heavy metal songwriting, made all the more remarkable that every song here was written over 30 years ago.
Vortex, who are rounded out by second guitarist Orion Roos, bassist Harm Ten Hoove and drummer Henk Bosma, have kept the metal flame burning for 40 years simply out of love and their respect for the genre. They are simply “classic guys playing classic metal,” a line to which Brongers and his bandmates can rightfully lay claim.