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Album Review: One Day As A Lion – One Day As A Lion [EP]

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“They say that in war truth be the first casualty,” raps Zack De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine, only now over heavy keyboards and the destructive drumming force of former Mars Volta drummer, Jon Theodore. In one brief EP, De La Rocha makes his long awaited return to the musical and political realm with One Day As A Lion’s self titled EP. Suffice to say, it was worth the wait.

It’s been eight plus years since we have heard of anything from the former vocalist of Rage Against The Machine. While the rest of Rage went on to form Audioslave with former Soundgarden frontman, Chris Cornell, De La Rocha became anything but relevant, despite circulating rumors of an alleged solo album. Though after the release of three albums over the span of six years, Audioslave broke up and there was still no sign of work from De La Rocha. In fact, there were bets made on who would release an album first, Zack De La Rocha or Axl Rose. Even guitarist Tom Morello beat De La Rocha to the punch, with his alter-ego, the Nightwatchman’s, One Man Revolution. But then, better than a solo album, Rage announced that they would be reuniting for the 2007 Coachella Valley Music and Art’s Festival. Since then, the band has continued to play gigs all around the world.

But finally, on July 22nd it happened. De La Rocha released One Day As A Lion’s self titled EP. Don’t let the cover fool you. It may say One Day As A Lion, but this is Zack De La Rocha’s long awaited solo material. While the timing may infuriate a large portion of Rage’s fan base, who feels that the reformed group should make a new record, the album itself should hold us over until the heavily rumored album is released.

The opening track, and first single, from the self titled EP, “Wild International”, comes at you with such distorted and funky keyboards from De La Rocha, you might think you’re listening to a new Rage Against The Machine song. De La Rocha’s rhymes cover everything from the Iraq War to the treatment of the poor, and then there’s Jon Theodore’s relentless drumming.

While Theodore provides the perfect tempo for all five tracks, the most surprising thing to come out of the EP is the change of flow from De La Rocha. While there was a reliance on yelling in Rage, there is a completely different vibe from the self titled EP. Rather than iconic choruses, De La Rocha drops line after line about the injustices going on in our society. All five tracks are far more based on hip-hop then the more rock reliant Rage Against The Machine.

None of this is more evident than on the track “If You Fear Dying”, where a thick bass-like keyboard pervades over the entire track, with Theodore creating an almost danceable beat. De La Rocha drops lyrical gold throughout, such as “The bastard son/ I spit non fiction/ in exile for a while/ now with raw friction” and “I target more heads than a priest on Ash Wednesday.” This track alone proves there has been a big change in De La Rocha’s flow and lyrics and it’s more than welcome.

While this EP or the upcoming album (due out this fall) from One Day As A Lion won’t make us forget about a new Rage Against The Machine release, it should keep us happy until the boys from Los Angeles drop another album that will all make us feel a little more like a rebel.

Check Out:
“If You Fear Dying” (via)
“Last Letter” (via)

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