THORAX (L - R : Wics Rombouts, Rudi Schrijvers, Chris Verstappen, Guido Schrijvers & Marcel Sprangers) (picture supplied by Chris Verstappen)


THORAX hailed from the environment of Hoogstraten and were previously known as POWERAID. The namechange occurred shortly after original POWERAID guitarist Frank Debacker was replaced by former GIANT FLUSH guitarist Chris 'Stappie' Verstappen, around September 1985. THORAX's line-up at that time consisted of Marcel 'Cel' Sprangers (vocals), Chris Verstappen and Rudi Schrijvers (guitars), Wics Rombouts (bass), Guido Schrijvers (drums) and Ludo Verbeeck (keyboards).

This sextet went into the Top Studio in Ghent in December 1985 and recorded 7 songs. These were eventually mixed in January of 1986 and released as the band's selftitled debut demo shortly after. The band's first gig was at Lies in Westmalle on April 5th 1986. This was followed by an appearance at the Hegge Rock 3 festival in Poederlee, on June 28th 1986, alongside BAD LIZARD, DECIBEL, EXPLORER, HELLOISE and TAILS BLUE. In these early days THORAX played a mixture of own, original tunes and covers by the likes of JUDAS PRIEST, PRETTY MAIDS, SCORPIONS, In October of 1986 Ludo left and the band decided to continue without a keyboard player from then on.

THORAX live @ Lies, Westmalle, April 5th 1986 (L - R : Wics Rombouts, Chris Verstappen, Marcel Sprangers, Guido Schrijvers & Rudi Schrijvers) (picture supplied by Chris Verstappen)

In February of 1987 another four songs were recorded (once again at Top Studio in Ghent) and released as the Crusaders Of Steel demo. The band also acted as the support act during BAD LIZARDs very last show at Zaal Schuttershof in Sint-Kruis-Brugge on December 12th 1987.

On April 30th 1988 THORAX supported VENGEANCE at the Parochiezaal in Weelde. Came August 12th 1989 and THORAX was part of Biebob's Rock Not Pop festival at the Heilaar venue in Beerse. Only to be followed by a gig at the Hardrock Circus in Stabroek on November 25th 1989.

In January of 1990 the band recorded yet another 4-song demo, entitled Borderline. Produced, mixed and engineered by Jack Nobelen, with the assistance of Rudi & Cel, at Jack's studio. Plenty of live gigs followed afterwards, both in Belgium and abroad, including places such as New Face (Capelle a/d Yssel, Holland, March 31st 1990), Noorderligt (Tilburg, Holland, April 15th 1990 / together with CROSSHEAD, SHELL SHOCK, ALLIED FORCES & SOUNDGARDEN) and Hardrock Circus (Stabroek, Belgium, May 5th 1990).

Later on in 1990 drummer Guido left THORAX. He was soon replaced by vocalist Cel, who had been drumming in POWERAID's earliest days already. This inevitably meant that the search for a suitable new vocalist had to be started, which soon turned out to be a mission impossible. In the end, one member after another left and THORAX died a silent death

As far as musical activities after THORAX are concerned : Cel, Guido and Ludo were never heard of anymore afterwards, as far as being part of any bands is concerned anyhow. Guitarist Rudi Schrijvers formed (or joined) THE LOOK, and later on Rock cover band TATTOO TURKEY, of which he is still part to this day.

Bassist Wics Rombouts joined a bunch of bands after the demise of THORAX. The first one was JAILBREAKER. In fact Wics considered his spell in JAILBREAKER more of a guest appearance, rather than being a permanent member. Although he was part of the band for about one year, and played plenty of live gigs with them, especially together with KILLER. Wics then joined SHANNAH, before moving on to RUBICON. And RUBICON became PRIME MOVER when they got rid of their keyboardplayer. All of these outfits were rather shortlived, and all they ever released were one demo each.

In April of 1994 Wics started WIX, a rock band playing original songs only. Originally consisting of seven members they had become a trio by August of 1997, with Wics handling the bass & vocals from then on. An independent CD (Flegs) saw the light of day in early 2004. And from April 2005 through November 2006 Wics also had a side project called BLACK-JACK.

Guitarist Chris Verstappen started a project called RETRO TULL in early 1994, which morphed into TATTOO TURKEY (a Rock cover band), where he reunited with former THORAX guitarist Rudi. Chris stayed with TATTOO TURKEY until late 2004. In February of 2005 Chris joined FREAKSSS, another Rock cover outfit. Also part of this band are Eddy Bogaerts (former singer of POWER '81) and Luc Lauryssen, the bassist that had already played together with Chris in GIANT FLUSH. In early 2007 Chris left FREAKSSS, due to being tired of playing rock cover songs by the likes of PRINCE and ROBBIE WILLIAMS.

In late 2006 Chris had already started a new project, called AXIS, as well, in which he returned to his 1970's and 1980's hard rock roots. At the moment AXIS is just a duo, with Chris taking care of guitar, as well as bass and drum programming, while his wife Carine Van der Schoot takes care of the vocals and synthesizers.

AXIS has already recorded a first demo-CD, and it's a good indication of what they are about, as it includes covertunes by the likes of AC/DC, JUDAS PRIEST, RUSH, SAXON, SCORPIONS and UFO. But also a rendition of the old THORAX classic Damned Berlin. Planned for the near future are new versions of other THORAX tunes such as Actuaris and Powerraid, and most likely Break The Rules, Eyes Of Avatar and Nowhere To Run further down the road as well. Besides, Chris also intends to write new songs, for which former THORAX vocalist Cel Sprangers will supply the lyrics. And who knows : maybe one day AXIS may become a full-fledged band again, rather than just a project?

ex-THORAX members @ THORAX reunion night,  17-11-2007 (L - R : Wics Rombouts, Guido Schrijvers, Marcel Sprangers, Rudi Schrijvers, Chris Verstappen) (picture courtesy of Eddy Vermeiren)


1986 : Thorax (demo) {Metal, Powerraid, Black Sheep, Eyes Of Avatar, Battle Waves, Nowhere To Run, Destruction}

1987 : Crusaders Of Steel (demo) {Crusaders Of Steel, Wasted Land, To Hell With Tomorrow, Fight For Peace Of Mind}

1990 : Borderline (demo) {Damned Berlin, Computer City, Actuaris and Hammer Or Nail}

2008 : Test Of Time (2LP, High Roller / Metaleros) {Metal / Powerraid, Black Sheep, Eyes Of Avatar, Battle Waves, Nowhere To Run, Destruction, Crusaders Of Steel, Wasted Land, To Hell With Tomorrow, Fight For Peace Of Mind, Damned Berlin, Computer City, Actuaris, Hammer Or Nail}
{note : limited edition of 500 copies}

Consulted people

Chris Verstappen, Wics Rombouts, Marcel Verstappen, Rudi Schrijvers, Guido Schrijvers, Ludo Verbeeck

Related links

First posted

July 11th 2007

Latest adjustment

December 1st 2009 (November 19th 2007, October 1st 2007, August 19th 2007)

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