One Day as a Lion is an alliance between Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha and ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. That’s it. Two guys: one with a loud drum kit and the other with a message. No band. …And ultimately, very little in the way of music – just vocals, lots of very distorted Fender Rhodes keyboard noise and that aforementioned drum kit.
This EP lyrically contains the anger and passion of the best Rage Against The Machine material. Witness Zack during the title cut: “Blood soaked earth that you call home, close your eyes but don’t sleep / We comin’ like a people’s army for those who don’t eat” […] “smashed in his dome with a club of a white fed / No food, no water, no rights read”. Elsewhere he says “Your god is a homeless assassin who roams the world to save / He’s digging for buried treasures, leaving nothing but fields of graves” (‘Last Letter’). There’s enough lyrical bite to potentially make this thrilling.
This EP could have been great, but falls very short of mark, since musically, One Day As A Lion have relatively little fire and in addition, the keyboard drones become grating over the course of the twenty minute playing time. While Theodore’s drum work is aggressive, it’s just not enough to carry Zack’s message effectively.
Zack’s socio-political rants certainly work far better with Rage Against The Machine’s more sophisticated musical style. …And as for the rest of Rage, judging by the Audioslave releases, their musical tricks and style sound tired and lame without Zack. Although Zack’s 80s hardcore band Inside Out had their moments and Tom Morello’s melodic rock/funk metal outfit Lock Up showed signs of greatness, the release of that first RATM album truly raised the bar. For best results, all four guys really need to work together, but you hardly needed me to tell you that…did you?