One Day As A Lion - One Day As A Lion EP
"In exile for a while, now with raw friction,” spits Rage Against the Machine’s firebrand in limbo - Zack de la Rocha - breaking a four year silence against an auspicious backdrop of jackhammer fills from ex-Mars Volta tub thumper Jon Theodore that suit the man’s anger perfectly. Western imperialism might have beckoned its fair share of clarion calls from a number of unlikely musicians in recent years - bad governments make for good tunes after all - but Bush agitators rarely arrive quite so unrelentingly furious as this guy. Given de la Rocha’s minimal recorded output since his 2003 anti-war collaboration with DJ Shadow, however, the sudden arrival of this EP comes as a surprise when a long-awaited debut solo LP boils over with high profile guests – such as El-P, Trent Reznor and Questlove – yet still sits dormant on the shelf.
So what to call One Day As A Lion if not a solo project? A mass of dirty, squelching, keyboard-driven funk mixed with metronomic snare and hi-hat which could have you forget that Theodore is the same player who blew minds with his polyrhythmic wizardry on De-Loused in the Comatorium. Brute force is the order here, as opening number Wild International – a song derived from a poem de la Rocha wrote for a CIW rally last year- proves with great effect. Elsewhere, Ocean View marks a rare moment where the MC sings rather than raps or shouts – occupying a strange middle ground between Perry Farrell and Ozzy Osbourne. Last Letter meanwhile finds de la Rocha in his mantra-spewing comfort zone; his voice escalating while Theodore twists the tempo into an urgent crescendo. So it’s a slight disappointment that by the ragga-infused fourth number - If You Fear Dying – Wild International’s riff is already recycled and there’s an uneasy feeling that the formula has spread thin. Fortunately, the title track’s Zeppelin meets KRS grit proves to be the EP’s saving grace in closing and whets the appetite for something yet more substantial than this 20 minute slab of apocalyptic invective. A satisfying return. [Dave Kerr]