Rebel Music Review: One Day As A Lion

Shortly after the 9-11 attacks Clear Channel quickly pulled out a list of songs to be removed from rotation and delivered the list to all of their radio stations. Concerned citizens resisted even quicker.

Only one group had their entire catalogue removed and it was obviously politically motivated: Rage Against The Machine (RATM).

The band wore the attempted censorship as a badge of honor though they were already broken up at the time.

The highly gifted guitarist, Tom Morello, along with drummer, Brad Wilk, and bassist, Tom Commerford, joined up forces with Chris Cornell (formerly of Soundgarden) in Audioslave. The group, though successful, didn’t last long and Rage Against The Machine reformed.

Since 2007 the reunited group has been mostly headlining music festivals (in October 2007 the co-headlined Voodoo Fest with the Smashing Pumpkins in New Orleans).

They couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to pick up where they left off.

The group has continued other side projects.

Tom Morello is still The Nightwatchman and busy with Axis of Justice (he is commonly heard repeating the mantra, "think globally, act locally").

Zack de la Rocha has just come out with One Day As A Lion, a project he does with Mars Volta’s drummer, Jon Theodore.

The band takes their name from a photo of graffiti that said, "It’s better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb."

The group describes their music as "a defiant affirmation of the possibilities that exist in the space between kick and snare. It’s a sonic reflection of the visceral tension between a picturesque fabricated cultural landscape, and the brutal socioeconomic realities it attempts to mask."

The music consists of no guitars. Just Jon on drums and Zack on vocals and keyboards (which sound like distorted guitars).

In many ways the duo’s sound resembles RATM with the heavily rift-oriented melodies and the classic rap-rock style that Zack has long been notorious for.

The self-titled EP consists of five tracks.

The first track, Wild International, doesn’t waste anytime setting the tone:

They say that in war that truth be the first casualty so I
Dig in selector I the resurrector
Fly my shit sever your neck wider than ever with my
Tongue dipped in funk arsenic

But it’s in another song, If You Fear Dying, that Zack really gives a personal update:

The bastard son I spit non-fiction
In exile for awhile now with raw friction
Never be a pawn the boomerang be upon you
Im like fela with my heart in Venezuela

The chorus goes on to say that:

Time is coming
Rising like the dawn of a red sun
If you fear dying then youre already dead

As a huge RATM fan – my online moniker, Truth Addict, is a line commonly found in Zack’s lyrics – I must admit that I would have preferred the group come out with a new full length album. Their plugging of organizations and writers like Will Blum and Noam Chomsky (i.e. Evil Empire) and just the pure awesomeness of their work is badly missed with this guy.

But that being said the album is very good. For those who enjoy good, wholesome, rebel music to fan the flames of discontent I highly suggest picking up this CD (the band’s website says they are currently pressing some vinyl’s). The music is catchy, fresh, different from what is getting regular rotation – the simplicity of a two-piece band still embodies more creativity than many current groups that immediately come to mind – and the lyrics are Zack de la Rocha, synonymous with informative and inspiring.

One Day As A Lion

Blood soaked Earth that you call home
Close your eyes but don’t sleep
We coming like people’s army
For the people who cant eat
Who work with no sleep
For the child with no shoes on their feet
A generation who flash heat
Who role up on banks for their cash see
Are they criminal you got the nerve to ask me
Tear mics till my voice gets raspy
Faced flames for five centuries
And if LA were Baghdad we’d be Iraqi
With our straps in the backseat
Next to a general tied up with shit in his khakis
Best leave my mic alone im full grown
And im off to the green zone

After dark my city’s a fuse
One day I say today we live as a lion

I heard this cat get life in the pen
Crossing sand in the back of a truck bed
Twelve deep heard sirens and lights red
Was smoked on his dome with the club of a white fed
No food no water no rights read
He came north to keep his seeds and his wife fed
In the middle of the darkest night bled
Stepped to the law and said
You a minuteman wait a minute man
Talk like that might limit your life span

After dark my city’s a fuse
One day I say today we live as a lion
And when our cubs grow well show you what war is good for

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