Released: Jul 22, 2008
Genre: Alternative Hip Hop, Electronica, Rock
Number Of Tracks: 5
One Day As A Lion's Self Titled five track EP is a mass fusion of grimy, soiled up keyboards with heavy thumping percussions, not to mention grubby and funky as hell bass lines.
One Day As A Lion
UG Team, on august 26, 2008 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: One Day As A Lion is the simplistic Hip-Hop driven offspring of Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha and former The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. Signed to fairly fresh label Anti, ODAAL's Self Titled five track EP is a mass fusion of grimy, soiled up keyboards with heavy thumping percussions, not to mention grubby and funky as hell bass lines. This is all complemented by De la Rocha's signature pissed off rapping/shouting. First track Wild International kicks off with a force suited perfectly for an opening track with minimalist hi-hat and cymbal percussions accompanied by an unforgiving bass line. When Zack's rapping drops, it's clear that One Day As A Lion mean business. A promising start to the EP, the song does exactly what any opener should do: get the blood pumping and ready for more. The EP's standout track is clearly the mean leaning Last Letter. The track rides a dirty bass line throughout the song creating a moody atmosphere all the while rising to reach boiling point. The climax finally happens forty seconds from the end where De la Rocha continuously shouts This is my last letter to you over and over again. The five tracks on the Self Titled EP flow well together creating a dangerous funked up tone. // 7
Lyrics: Lyrically, as always Zack de la Rocha is pissed off. As an activist, the lyrics on the EP reflect De la Rocha's political complaints and thoughts. This is shown on the track If You Fear Dying: Time is coming; rising like the dawn of a red sun; if you fear dying then you're; then you're already dead. Considering the state of affairs in the States at the moment, the song's lyrics make a bold statement. But then again, De la Rocha is not a man well known for compromise. The one surprise vocally is the second track Ocean View where De la Rocha actually sings rather than raps. At first it's quite hard to take in as many of us are so use to his shout rapping, but once you learn to accept it you realize that it suits the song much better than the alternative. // 8
Overall Impression: Right from the get go it is quite obvious that Jon Theodore and Zack de la Rocha have a good thing going. Although quite minimalist, the tracks all flow from strength to strength; growing on you each time you listen. As One Day As A Lion, Theodore and De la Rocha are a force to be watched. Whether posted as a side project or not, their collaboration is quality and the EP serves as a warm up to a hopefully just as awesome and successful full length record. // 8
One Day As A Lion
SenorBill, on august 26, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Zack de la Rocha truly has been silent too long. Even after so long a period without releasing material, it seems that de la Rocha has not lost his edge at all. He does have a new trick up his sleeve, however: he occasionally throws in some melodic singing on more than one occasion, although his vocals are still composed primarily of the hard-hitting rap-style vocals of Rage Against the Machine. The former drummer of The Mars Volta, Jon Theodore, makes a solid performance on this album, although his style differs a considerable amount from the fill-based, hyperactive drumming he produced with The Mars Volta. I would argue he does not drum to his full potential on this album. However, The key to this album is simplicity, with most of the tracks consisting of a drumline, some slightly distorded keyboards, and vocals. While Theodore's drumming is toned down quite a bit, it fits with the spirit of the album. I am reluctant to compare this band to The White Stripes on such tracks as Blue Orchid but the element of simplicity is undeniably similar. This album succeeds at taking a minimalistic approach to music, showing how music doesn't require a six-piece band. // 8
Lyrics: Well, it's Zack de la Rocha. I think everyone knew what to expect out of him, politically-fueled, activist lyrics that leave an impression on anyone who takes the time to listen to them. Favorite topics of de la Rocha can be found on this album: the feds, corruption and unfairness of the law, etc. The band says on their website that this album is based around a quote from a famous photograph that reads, "It is better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb". This underlying theme is present throughout all of the songs. As previously stated, tracks such as If You Fear Dying feature a change from rapping to actual melodic singing, which has almost never been done by Zack de la Rocha previously. De la Rocha's lyrics are as powerful (though arguably as controversial) as ever. // 10
Overall Impression: For Rage Against the Machine fans like myself, who have been mourning the break-up of RATM for years, this album serves as a hopeful reminder that Zack de la Rocha is still alive and kicking, even if it hasn't seemed like it. I realize I have compared this album to Rage Against the Machine's material much more than I have to The Mars Volta, but One Day as a Lion has a sound that will appeal to fans of the former rather than the latter. However, it is also nice to see the return of a phenomenal drummer such as Jon Theodore after leaving The Mars Volta. This EP left me with a desire to hear more from this band. Between Theodore and de la Rocha, this is an unstoppable creative force and I hope to hear them expand in many directions with any subsequent releases, specifically in Theodore's drumming. I mean, they work fine, but... c'mon, man. They have the potential to be much, much better than fine. So go buy it. It will feed your Rage Against the Machine appetite for a couple weeks. // 8
One Day As A Lion
Watermelon4, on november 17, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: A hard rocking pairing of Rage Against the Machine front man Zach De la Rocha on both vocals and keyboards, and former drummer for The Mars Volta, the EP exudes a confident and hard hitting sound on all tracks. Crunchy basslines, subtle but intense drumming and one of Zach's better vocal performances in a while give the EP one of the more fresh sounds I've heard in a while
Wild International - Quick countoff and the EP kicks into gear, Zach spitting his rhymes with a fury. Catchy keyboards and tight, controlled drumming makes a very cool song. One of the cooler choruses on the EP. Solid song. 4/5
Ocean View - Starts off with a bang and Jon and Zach get right to it with crash cymbals galore and a screeching siren of a line. One of the weaker choruses on the EP. Not much energy in the chorus vocals, compared to the frenzied rhyming in the verses. 3.5/5
Last Letter - Jon's best drumming, hands down. The track starts with a small solo and Zach gets right to it. One of the cooler lines on the EP "Your god is a hopeless assassin." The song gets hard and heavy as it goes, with a screamed "this is my last letter to you", courtesy of zach. 5/5
If You Fear Dying - Bass and drum song galore. It's almost like they wrote this song for a band like Rage to do. Zach comes out throwing rhymes like usual, and he does it fantastically. The best chorus on this EP, hands down. Zach's best work lyrically on this track, and one of the most chilling and current verses I've ever heard.
"I'm the press leak that downed you aide
I'm the orange jump suit that's taylor made
I'm the crescent, the sickle, so sharp the blade
I'm the flick of the shank that opened your veins
I'm the dusk, I'm the frightening calm
I'm a hole in the pipeline, I'm a road side bomb"
One Day As A Lion - Overall, an okay track. The keyboards get to be somewhat of an earsore after a while, although the bass parts and the drumming are well done. An average track, catchy, hard hitting chorus.
4/5 // 9
Lyrics: Zach does George Rodriguez proud. Political lyrics are Zach's well established forte, and he continues to show it. Three tracks in particular were so excellently melded with the drums, keyboards and vocals it seemed like there was a full band in the studio, jamming along. Lyrical standouts: Wild International, Last Letter, If You Fear Dying. // 8
Overall Impression: If anything, I'd compare it to Rage Against the Machine. I know, tired comparison, but they're really quite similar, Tim Commerford's punchy basslines strike a familiar note here, as does Brad Wilk's drumming. Standouts: If You Fear Dying, Wild International.
I purchased the EP for Zach's fiery lyrics and passionate rapping, I had no idea he'd be playing keyboards as well so that was a very pleasant surprise, although somewhat of an odd time to decide to showcase his skills. I hate that they haven't made a full album yet, as a 5 song EP with 3 great songs and two okay ones isn't enough. I'd definitely purchase again if stolen. // 9