One Day as a Lion is a duo consisting of keyboardist and vocalist Zack de la Rocha and drummer Jon Theodore. Rocha is of course vocalist and chief songwriter of Rage against the Machine and Theodore is a past drummer of The Mars Volta. Not being overly familiar with The Mars Volta I was pleasantly surprised to find that Theodore is a more than competent drummer, who does a fantastic job of keeping up the pace that Rocha so fearlessly sets.
The songs are a primal fusion of electronica and hip-hop which are united with some of Rocha's best lyrics in years. I can report with pleasure that anybody familiar with Rage against the Machine will feel right at home with this eponymously titled EP.
The grinding keyboard loop of Wild International immediately rids you of any anxiety you may have had over the quality of this Rocha side project. You may think that as a duo the possibilities of creating memorable sequences would be somewhat undermined by the obvious technical limitations, but the band does a superb job on this opening track and the venomous bite in Rocha's vocal delivery is splendid.
Ocean View has one of the set's best keyboard progressions and resulted in me being dumbstruck on discovering that the band didn't have a guitarist. My summation of the track posed the question 'who actually needs a guitarist when your keyboard sounds this good?'
The riff is so pleasingly dirty and under rehearsed that it evokes memories of The White Stripes' earlier, more primitive work. It's my favourite moment on this often forceful and irate recording.
"If you fear dying then you're already dead", Rocha laments on If You Fear Dying. I wouldn't find it at all surprising to discover that this is the bands' motto when taking into consideration that they often play with the enthusiasm of a freshly signed band, hungry for fame.
As a final word, I personally find the last two tracks less engaging than the first three, if only because they are essentially repeating what has gone before. As a 5 track EP I can quite happily recommend that you purchase this, but if the same formula was dragged out over an album double the length, I may have to reassess my final opinion.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wild International
2 Ocean View
3 Last Letter
4 If You Fear Dying
5 One Day As A Lion