The Sword sliced through Houston at White Oak Music Hall on Thursday night. The Austin-based metal group put together a crowd pleasing set, touching on various career highlights while touring behind their most recent record, 2018's Used Future.
Leading off with the deep licks of "Mother, Maiden and Cross," the dynamic of the band came across quickly. Frontman John Cronise has a bluesy tint to his vocals, and his guitar work complements the rhythm section from bassist Bryan Ritchie and drummer Santiago Vela. It all serves to create an engaging soundscape for lead guitarist Kyle Schutt.
Schutt is on the best live guitarists we've seen here at BSL. His solos swiftly elevate the group from solid band to something special. When he duels with Cronise, their sound feels like it could fill stadiums (and it has - these guys have toured with Metallica).
This isn't exactly the original line up, but things have been largely constant for the band throughout their 15 year career. By all means, they're a complete unit. Ritchie pipes in synths and other effects on several songs (with admittedly mixed results). Vela is always on point. Cronise added some depth to the set with two cuts off of 2015's Low Country.
We've been lucky enough to catch some great openers lately here at BSL, and King Buffalo did not disappoint. Lead guitarist and vocalist Sean McVay gamely pulled off a dueling solo with Schutt at one point mid-set. Bass player Dan Reynoldshas an ease that's hard to quantify in words. Drummer Scott Donaldsona is on another level, though. The man just oozes charisma, which are not words commonly used for performers behind a drum kit. This a collective that are greater than the sum of their parts, and one to keep any eye on.