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One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion EP
[Four stars]

Samar Grewal Oct 09, 2008
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One Day as a Lion is Zach de la Rocha (RATM, vocals and keys) and drummer Jon Theodore (ex-Mars Volta) and yes, the they do deliver in thumping good fashion on the expectations one is allowed to have from such a mini-supergroup billing. Stylistically, De la Rocha sticks by-and-large to what has worked for him in Rage: laying the foundation for typically combative rapping with simple, often repetitive, heavily distorted keyboard riffs. It is, however, the juxtaposition of this familiar drone with Theodore’s loud and playful, yet cleverly restrained funk that gives ODL the extra spin. From the kick-in-the-nuts chorus riff on opener ‘Wild International’ to the outtro on ‘Last Letter’ and the call-to-arms of ‘If You Fear Dying’, the five tracks here make some of the most powerful music you’re likely to hear this year. The bare, unfussy production only adds to the immediacy. After getting knocked about on the first few listens, the disc also has rewards for the more resilient ear-drums: check out the keyboard licks coming in from the left channel and the curiously Perry Farrell-like chorus refrain, both on ‘Ocean View’, and the scary-good high-hat work on ‘Last Letter’.

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