Buc Tuong (The Wall) – Nam Cham (Magnet)

I am not a rocker fella but I am feeling these guys. Buc Tuong impressed with their creative aesthetic visions. They have truly embraced the ascendance of rock through their latest release Nam Cham. They sound secure, confident, and ready to roar. Their deliveries are natural and their musical instruments drop harder than tons of magnet. As a result, Nam Cham is a hard knock rock LP.

“Gio len roi can buom cho khoai / Gac cheo len ta nuong kho khoai.” These were my favorite lines from “Ra Khoi” that I used to sing when I was a kid in Vietnam and Buc Tuong rock the hell out of the Vietnamese Southern folk (Dan Ca Nam Bo) style. I am not a die hard rock fan but when I first heard their version of “Ra Khoi,” they not only take me back to my childhood memory but also sweep me off my feet. The wicked fuse between rock and folk produced an unbelievable outcome. Actually, the opening track “Ra Khoi” grabbed my attention, which prompted to cop the album and I am glad I did because the rest of the album rocks hard as hell the whole way through.

Similar to the rock and folk exploration, Buc Tuong recreate the magnificent stories of Trong Thuy and My Chau through “Dau Vet Nghiet Nga” and Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh through “Chuyen Tinh Cua Thuy Than.” Though I wouldn’t use these songs to tell my kids these legendary stories, I do enjoy the two tracks greatly.

Clearly the title track “Nam Cham,” is influenced heavily by Marilyn Mansion’s extreme hardcore style. It’s rug, raw, and intense. Speaking of hardcore, the instrumental solos on “Bat Tu” are ruthless and explosive which demonstrate the band musical talent. The drum and bass ride smoother than a Ferrari on crack.

On the softer ride, “Cha Va Con” is a special dedication to Tran Lap’s (band’s leader) first unborn child telling him to live his life to the fullest, “Va con hay song hon cha da song mot thoi gia.” On the bonus track “Tro Ve,” Buc Tuong are experimenting with rock and country. I have to say, the result is radiance and striking as well.

Glad to see a band in Vietnam who not only focused on rock but also expend it into the Vietnamese culture by combining with the traditional folk music. The best part about Buc Tuong is that the group has been together for almost 10 years without breaking up like those young pop groups today. Buc Tuong have definitely found themselves a distinctive spot in Vietnam. Wish them the best of luck and continue to rock on.