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Servant Leader - Raised by Wolves Award winner

Servant Leader
Raised by Wolves
by Rachel Montgomery at 07 May 2021, 6:29 AM

SERVANT LEADER is the solo project of Leigh Oates, critically acclaimed vocalist of XILLA, ORDER OF VOICES, SOLDIERFIELD, RISE TO ADDICTION, and NINEDENINE. Oates is bringing listeners Part 2 of his solo debut, Raised By Wolves which was released last year. His site boasts that Part 1 ended up on a lot of “Top 5” lists for releases in 2020 and critical reviews comparing his work to ALICE IN CHAINS. That said, there are certain elements of grunge in Servant Leader’s work, but it has a more contemporary style that listeners from the aughts could enjoy Namely, I found the album has a lot of the highs without the lows of 2000s metalcore and goth rock & metal.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Part 1 first. I can definitely hear the ALICE IN CHAINS notes, but it’s eclipsed by early AVENGED SEVENFOLD and the better “butt rock” metal acts of the 00s. Note: that’s not a diss. As I said, Oates is remarkable at distilling the good parts of this era and leaving the bad parts in the dust. His first two tracks are a great example of metalcore style music done right. “Raised By Wolves” begins with a howling vocalization before launching the listener into a heavy, bass-fueled head-banger. In fact, the first two tracks are both solid metal songs with a grungier metalcore sound. “Head Over Heart” is another song continuing this way, complete with pounding drums, tuned-down, heavy guitars, and raspy, higher vocals that remind me of MUDVAYNE.

Coming Down” is the most unique of the tracks, featuring trance qualities, especially with the reverberating vocalists meshed together on the track. Even when there’s a solo singer, the production warbles their voice to make it seem like it’s coming out of a pond during a pleasant acid trip. The solo is drum-heavy and droning before the song launches into a faster, heavier refrain that’s all kinds of intense.

Words Fail” is a more mainstream offering than the previous track, and it’s definitely more AVENGED SEVENFOLD than doom metal. The track is a simple mix of verse/chorus/verse/chorus/guitar solo/chorus, but it delivers on the adrenaline like the first two tracks. The closing song, however, is a steadier, more experimental piece. The mixing is one part heaven and one part screaming pit of hell, and it works! Like the third track, “Yearn” brings the background vocals, ambiance, and on-point harmonies to create out-of-this-world sounds. The guitar solo is well constructed and the background of the chorus ends the five-track run on an uplifting note.

As a If you have a hankering for 2000s music, specifically the better parts of goth metal a la EVANESCENSE or TRISTANIA’s Ashes mixed with some post rock, this is definitely a band to watch. The heavier rock songs contain the best of metalcore without the tuned-up guitar or whine-screaming nonsense that wore the genre down over time IMHO. If you were a fan of his previous work, or want to check out what the hype’s about, run, don’t walk, and download these songs now!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Raised By Wolves
2. Head Over Heart
3. Coming Down
4. Words Fail
5. Yearn
Leigh Oates – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums
Record Label: Leighviathan


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