Nestled in the pages of The NWOBHM Encyclopaedia, the excellent index of bands complied by Malc Macmillian, is over a page dedicated to Trojan. Described as the most successful of the numerous bands who assumed the name, this version formed in 1982 with a line-up comprising Dave Kenyon (vocals), Pete Wadeson (guitar), Andy Helliwell (guitar), Brian Bentham (bass) and Mick Taylor (drums).
Trojan – Chasing the Storm / Talion – Killing the World
Words: Paul Hutchings
Despite their inclusion on the Ebony Records compilation Metal for Maniaxe in 1982 with the track Premonition and numerous gigs, the band slowly imploded, leaving Wadeson the sole original member.
It was his desire to reform Trojan that led to the arrival of Graeme Wyatt (vocals), Eddy Martin (bass), Sam Hall (drums), and a number of demos that were circulated around the rock world, including Roadrunner Records, who were sufficiently interested to finance a two-day recording session.
This resulted in a three-song demo, cemented the enthusiasm of the label and saw Trojan enter Ezee Hire Studios in London with producer Guy Bidmead (Motörhead, Exciter, Destruction). The resulting album was Chasing The Storm, described by Macmillan as a “powerful, pacy concoction” with comparisons to debuts by NWOBHM peers Jaguar, Samurai, and Chateaux.
He’s not wrong, for this 1985 album is crammed full of high-energy Metal songs that feature stellar guitar work, a driving rhythm section, and solid vocals, all wrapped in that unique NWOBHM flavour. It’s distinctly British in sound and feel, totally different to the muscular onslaught from the US where bands such as Metallica, Twisted Sister, Slayer, W.A.S.P, and Dio were leading the charge.
Of course, the UK was more than holding its own with the likes of Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Judas Priest and Saxon. Whilst Chasing The Storm cannot compete with Piece Of Mind, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance, there’s plenty to enjoy over the 40 minutes and ten songs that complete Chasing The Storm.
From the opening title track through to the explosive Aggressor that finishes the album in dramatic style, this is an album that represents everything that was good about NWOBHM, even if by the time of its release, the movement was all but over.
Despite some career highlights that included appearances at the Dynamo Club in Eindhoven and an appearance at the Belgian Whiplash Festival in 1986, the same fate that befell so many of their peers struck, and by 1988 Trojan were no more.
But you can’t keep a good dog down, and it wasn’t long before Wadeson and Wyatt were back making music in the shape of Talion, which is where our journey takes us next.
The Talion demos consisted of Sanctuary, Screaming For Mercy, a reworking of Premonition, Killing The World and Living On The Edge. This demo attracted the attention of Metal Forces magazine, and shortly afterwards, Major Records (a subsidiary of Peaceville) offered the band, now completed by Phil Gavin (who replaced Eddy Martin on bass) and Johnny Lee Jackson, a deal.
Killing The World is described in some quarters as “melo-thrash”, and whilst you can quibble over the exact genre that the band fit into, it’s undeniably heavier, faster, and more aggressive than Chasing The Storm.
The title track bears all the hallmarks of 1980s Thrash Metal, with a hybrid mix of Onslaught, Xentrix, Anthrax and Testament producing an interesting Anglo-American sound that, for these ears anyway, is a pleasing sound indeed.
Killing The World is a hidden gem and contains eight tracks that highlight the tightness of the band’s playing, Wadeson’s sublime guitar work, and the strength of Wyatt’s vocals. For me, it stands strong today against many of the UK Thrash classics of the time.
The pillar of the whole album, though, is the ten-minute Laws Of Retaliation. It’s a towering, majestic epic that demands your attention. If you listen to nothing else by Talion, then this is the one that flies proudest.
Although there were the usual problems with budget and studio time, Kev Ridley, who had mixed bands such as Toranaga and Venom, does a good job. The album is cohesive, energetic, and with a suitable mix of melody and aggression. Add in the gloriously colourful cover courtesy of Kev Walker (2000AD and Marvel Comics), and you have an excellent package.
Such was the interest that it was featured as album of the month in Kerrang! at a time when that magazine was still relevant.
Yet, timing is everything in music, and as we all know, the Thrash star was starting to wane at the turn of the decade. Despite gigs across Europe, including high-profile shows in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, the band ultimately paid the price for the changing fashion and split.
A story typical of so many in the NWOBHM scene, you may say, but from the ashes, a phoenix has risen. In 2019 Wadeson reformed Talion, with Wyatt on vocals, Ste Anks on bass/backing vocals and drummer Dave Edwards.
With typical timing, after rehearsals began, the pandemic emerged, putting paid to that initial enthusiasm. Undeterred, the band opened a YouTube channel, Metallic Savage, which began uploading material from both Trojan and Talion, alongside other guitar instrumentals from Wadeson. Some of the latter work has now been released by Sonic Age Records.
It was the re-released material of Trojan and Talion that also caught the ear of Sonic Age Records, who then reissued both Chasing The Storm and Killing The World in 2022. From there, there has been no stopping the band, who are now playing as Trojan/Talion due to the demand from the underground.
In 2023 the band has already played KIT Festival in Bavaria, Germany, Keep It True, and Muskelrock in Sweden. There are clips of the band in great form on YouTube.
And now, word is out that the band are back in the studio, writing fresh material all those years later. Huge shows, new music, and a beating pulse demonstrate how the band are hoping to make up time and remind the Metal family that there is still a place for them.
I, for one, will be watching with interest.
“One thing we’ve decided but was a long time in discussion is we are now going to go under the one name Tröjan from now on,” Pete Wadeson told MetalTalk. “We’ve laid the groundwork and played a couple of superb festivals, as you so rightly say.”
Fans of Talion should not be upset, as Pete says the sets will include some of those classic tracks too.
“We’ve just been confirmed for Headbangers Open Air in Germany 2024 as Tröjan, and we’re in the middle of writing/rehearsing and soon to record new material.
“Merch is available, and we’re getting more European Metal fests lined up for 2024 as we speak.”
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