Vortex Winder is the second album by Lighthouse XIII.
Following the release of Waves Upon Waves, Smith had the idea of writing a novel with a musical soundtrack. The resulting album, Vortex Winder, was released in 2012.
The album features the same heavy rock riffing and solos as the first one, yet makes greater use of harmony vocals. Smith uses dropped D tuning on four songs, and various types of electric and acoustic guitars.
Some of the songs – ‘Trade Winds’, ‘Black Art’ and ‘Oceanus’ – can be traced to specific chapters in the book which share their titles. Others – ‘Lifeline’ and ‘Spark’ – are more loosely linked to general themes of the novel. The album’s heaviest song, ‘Elijinx’ is named after the book’s chief villain.
Following the success of Vortex Winder, Smith wrote a sequel, The Maelstrom Ascendant, which was again a novel / album combination.