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Daniel J: Losing Time

For those of you who think ProgRock Records releases music that's not heavy enough, may I respectfully recommend Losing Time? That is the debut disc from Daniel J, the hotshot 23-year-old Israeli guitarist who takes his influences from Metallica, Dream Theater and Yes, and who appeared on Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess' last solo album, Rhythm of Time. Punchy and crunchy, Losing Time is a modern record that bridges progressive metal and hard rock with a variety of memorable and melodic songs that focus on relationships but come off as neither sappy nor cliché. Think Foo Fighters, Dream Theater and King's X all showing up at the same time in the same place for a groove-heavy album-long jam.

Daniel J plays guitars, drums, bass and keyboards on all or some of the 13 tracks on Losing Time, and he handles all singing duties with a voice that sounds like a cross between Doug Pinnick and Ty Tabor. Just listen to "Black," the pulverizing opening track that's punctuated by the first of Daniel J's monster axe solos. The title song, meanwhile, builds from dark and moody verses to a climactic chorus that should (but unfortunately probably won't) make radio programmers pay attention. Rudess (who offers a ringing endorsement of Daniel J's talents in the album's liner notes) plays keys on some songs, and a slew of other guest musicians populate the disc, including Jaroslav Jakubovic, whose tenor sax seduces on the ballad "All the Same For You."

Grand Terrace, Calif.-based ProgRock Records is emerging as one of the country's stronger independent progressive-music labels, and Losing Time demonstrates that it's not timid about taking risks and shaking up its roster. Remember this guy's name...

Track Listing:
1) Black
2) Theories In Her Head
3) End of Summer
4) Losing Time
5) Insane
6) Xited
7) All the Same For You
8) The Best
9) Save Me
10) Innocence
11) Replaced
12) Out of Reach
13) Rush

Added: January 21st 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: ProgRock Records
Hits: 8033
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Daniel J: Losing Time
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-21 16:05:43
My Score:

Daniel Jakubovic, who prefers going by the name Daniel J, is a young Israel-born musician and multi-instrumentalist. Now residing in the USA, he was first heard of when he played guitars on Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess' solo album Rhythm of Time along with other amazing musicians including Joe Satriani, Steve Morse and Vinnie Moore. As mentioned in the booklet by Rudess himself, he was so pleased with Daniel's performance on the CD that he decided to guest on his debut release, playing on a couple of tracks with his signature sound. Although it is obvious Daniel J is heavily influenced by John Petrucci and prog metal, two of the songs Rudess appears on are the most unmistakably Dream Theater-alike ones. "End of Summer" opens as a slowly building piece where Rudess mingles with a pretty synth motif before the song is steered into a more retro prog area and it conjures up images of Yes during their heyday. Great instrumental breaks, awesome vocals, and outstanding guitar harmonies lead to a beautiful piano intermezzo featuring Rudess playing one of his classical influences pieces. Daniel J's guitar tone is simply gorgeoous and he has a tremendous vibrato sound that will leave a lot of guitar fans in awe. The song particularly takes on a Dream Theater vibe as Rudess and Daniel J play off of each other, exchanging licks, duelling with sweet melodies, and simply shredding their hearts out.

Besides singing, Daniel J plays all lead guitars, drums and bass, except where noted in the liner notes. Though his vocal style may not be every proghead's cup of tea, he does possess a warm timbre that renders the songs somewhat more personal. His drumming is top notch too. On the groovy classic rock beats of "Black", the snare sound is excellent: very tight and powerful. The song develops into a great prog number at the end though, mostly because of its exquisite synth patterns and outstanding orchestration. I have to especially mention bassist Iyasu Nagata without whose intense playing these songs would be nowhere near their current brilliance. Simply put, Nagata's playing is rich and dense. He is also very versatile, as he lays the foundation of the big rocker "Theories in Her Head" (with a monster guitar riff by Daniel J) or the relatively more vocal-based title track which concludes with some sick Steve Vai whammy bar licks. On "Insane", the bass work is at its wildest. Nagata steals the show while Daniel J retreats to his earlier prog rock roots with a sweet lead tone. Pretty much every tune contains amazing lead guitar work too. From Petrucci to Morse, Daniel's vocabulary is extensive and his speedy picking and sweeping are truly impressive. "Xited" and "Replaced" both kick in with early Metallica-inspired Bay Area thrash but that's about where the comparison ends. The songs then take on their natural vibe as they are filled with some of the finest guitar work you'll hear and terrific rhythmic anchor. The slower ballad-type of songs range from the King's X style acoustic piece "The Best" to the piano ballad "Out of Reach" or the haunting "All the Same for You" which also features Daniel's renowned father Jaroslav Jakubovic on tenor saxophone. My personal favourite is the 10-minute "Rush", again with Jordan Rudess on keys. Its ambient and acoustic intro sounds something like Kevin Moore would write during Awake if he was a guitar player. Daniel J's vocals are at their emotional best here as well. The song is highlighted by top-notch musicanship, fantastic keyboard and guitar leads, a harrowing bass, awesome 70's prog moments, and so much more.

Daniel J has made a great start as a solo artist. If he keeps up the good work, he is bound to become bigger in the future. By the way, the mix on this disc is fantastic. The sound engineer deserves a medal for that.

» Reader Comments:

Daniel J: Losing Time
Posted by on 2007-10-17 10:02:23
My Score:

I agree with the reviewers comments with one exception. I would say the guitarist that comes to mind immediately when listening to Danial J. is Steve Vai. John's Petrucci tone and technique is cleaner and more precise than Danial's. I personally don't hear and Steve Morse components here at all.

Danial's tone is way over the top, and frequently down-tuned/pitch shifted for a Nu-Metal type sound. I would actually call it Fuzz. Great album, really different in most ways, but could be Steve Vai's little brother playing around in Steve's studio.

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