The current atmosphere, in the United States and elsewhere, has got me listening to a lot of angry music. Who better to prefigure throughout that listening than the master of rage himself, Zack de la Rocha? But, if we’re being honest, Rage Against the Machine is kind of played out (although a lot of their tracks still bang so hard). Good thing we have One Day As a Lion then, a less well known project from Rocha that also features one Jon Theodore (ex-The Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age) behind the drum kit. Yeah, sounds powerful right? You’re damn right it’s powerful.
One Day As a Lion are rage personified, with Rocha spitting his usual diatribes against power and Theodore backing him up with a monstrously huge sound on the drums. Their one, self-titled EP, is a raised fist that we all need as we struggle against oppression, channeling the anger of oppressed people everywhere. Just tune in to the opening track, “Wild International”, to feel that rage seethe through you. Rocha’s lyrics are corrosive as usual and gain an extra punch when backed by the thump of Theodore’s loud kick drums and the industrially-tinged synth lines that explode throughout the track (yes, that’s a synth).
One Day As a Lion are also way more economical than projects like Rage Against the Machine. There’s less emphasis on groove and verse-chorus-verse structure and more weight on Rocha’s flow which is an absolutely deadly combo with Theodore’s excellent work on the drums. It’s like a painting in monochrome, everything brought into stark contrast by its minimalism. The knife cuts deeper for being cold. Bottom line, if you need some fuel for the coming fight or you just want to vent your anger, this is the project for you. Play it loud.