“One Day as a Lion” Roars Loudly

{Originally Published in the OC Weekly, July 24th, 2008}

The specter of Rage Against the Machine front man Zack de la Rocha and former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, collectively known as One Day As a Lion, is haunting the music industry. The co-conspirators’ self-titled debut EP roars loudly as both a five-track political platform and a musical manifesto—and, expectedly, it’s also a desperate sonic assault that’s as revolutionary in sound as it is in words. In “One Day As a Lion,” Theodore’s masterly drumming transcends monotonous hip-hop beats while de la Rocha’s heavily distorted keyboard rhythms lay the foundation for his lyrical craftsmanship. Their musical dialogue is an innovative amelioration in the realm of rap/rock hybrids.

One Day As a Lion provides de la Rocha an updated platform for political expression. Few targets escape his incendiary-as-ever diatribes, as evidenced by the duo’s first single, “Wild International.” In the song, de la Rocha’s second verse cleverly denounces right-wing AM stations as mouthpieces for bigotry while simultaneously criticizing music-radio playlists that promote mindless consumerism. The more uptempo “Last Letter” has de la Rocha substituting his indignant flow for urgent singing. Theodore brings the song to a crescendo, as de la Rocha provocatively suggests, “I’m walking the beltway/And there’s something I’ve got to do.”

It’s unknown if more One Day As a Lion recordings will be forthcoming, but should there be more “days” than “one,” the musical masses are ready for de la Rocha’s refined lyrical sermons.


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