I saw a tab of “Crawling In The Dark” in a Guitar World magazine and the notes in the Intro Riff had a lot of similar notes and feel from the 80’s riffs I played like “Crazy Train” and “Lightning Strikes Again” from Ozzy and “Fighting For The Earth” by Warrior.
So I was interested.
The self-titled debut, released in 2001, is their first album on a label, however Hoobastank did release an album independently in 1998, called “They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To” which was more funk metal and ska punk in sound that the alternative rock of this album.
Hoobastank is Doug Robb on lead vocals, Dan Estrin on guitars, Markku Lappalainen on bass and Chris Hesse on drums.
The album is produced and engineered by Jim Wirt.
Vocalist Doug Robb grew up learning guitar and names Faith No More and Van Halen as his favourite bands.
Guitarist Dan Estrin grew up listening to his Dad’s 70’s and 80’s vinyl collection and he’s mentioned that “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns ‘N’ Roses inspired him to take up guitar.
Drummer Chris Hesse’s grew up playing the piano, guitar and then drums while bassist Markku Lappalainen had Finnish parents who exposed him to Iron Maiden and Megadeth. That’s parenting 101. He also discovered techno music and somehow all of those influences make up his style.
But Hoobastank sounds nothing like those bands, but if you listen you will hear bits and pieces of those bands in the Hooba-Mix.
Crawling in the Dark
It’s only 2.55 long. No filler on this song, just great riffage.
The intro/verse riff is based around 80’s riffs, played with a phaser/flanged effect and palm muted. Guitarist Dan Estrin showcases his abilities, but its bassist Markku Lappalainen and the way he phrases his bass riff which makes the different.
The Chorus is almost Staind like, when they are melodic.
The interlude/bridge part is head banging.
It’s a great crossover track and at 70+ million streams on Spotify, it’s a favourite on the service as well.
From a guitar point of view, Estrin rented several guitars for the recording of the first album and the PRS Custom 24 guitar became his mainstay as it sounded killer. A few years later, while on tour, PRS touched base with him and he got a custom PRS built.
Estrin shines again on this track.
After 22 seconds of ambient noise, the bass and drums kick in with the verse groove. But the song really shines when Estrin kicks in. His guitar playing reminds me of Carl Bell from Fuel on this track.
The riff in the Chorus when Robb sings, “do you remember me?” reminds me of Stabbing Westward.
At 2.26, it kicks into a Bridge. At first it’s clean tone and when Estrin kicks in with the distortion at 2.48, its head banging time with Robb singing “you’re never going to be a part of me”. And they close the song off with that riff.
At 2.58, it’s all killer music and no fat at all as an acoustic guitar starts the song, strummed.
The Chorus. Excellent and anthemic with a riff which ascends, like “Hero Of The Day” does from Metallica when Robb sings, “Why are you running away?”.
Check out the fast arpeggios after the Chorus. I want em to go longer, but Hoobastank is a lean machine on this record, delivering concise songs, with the majority of em under 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
So much happening in the intro riff here. It’s like Faith No More, Linkin Park, Fuel and Incubus amalgamated.
The interlude from 1.58 is head banging and loaded with groove. When Robb starts singing “suffocating, sinking further” it reminds me of the melodies of Maynard Keenan from Tool.
Four punch combo so far.
Let You Know
Clean tone arpeggios but it’s not a ballad.
The bass playing from Lappalainen is excellent and the drums from Hesse are on an acoustic kit but with a techno element in the verses.
But the Chorus. Brilliant. Hard rock to a tee and sounding like 90’s Aerosmith.
At 1.58, Estrin goes into a melodic passage with a digital delay added and it’s the best thing The Edge had created during this period that didn’t come from this fingertips.
The intro riff is the standard derivative Nu-Metal riff.
The Chorus with its mix of clean tone arpeggios and distortion reminds me of Fuel.
Ready for You
A Mark Tremonti inspired riff appears in the first 19 seconds before it moves to a major key riff that reminds me of songs that Autograph did on the debut album. Good Charlotte used these kind of riffs on their albums as well. And every Frontiers release over the last two years would have a song with a riff like this.
And the Tremonti inspired riff is all over the song, popping up between sections.
Up and Gone
An octave and busy bass riff kicks the song off.
Listen to when Estrin kicks in with this riffs, how he decorates a super heavy distorted riff with open strings, natural harmonics, bends and fast palm muted chords on his dropped D guitar.
And Jim Matheos was doing a similar style of riff decorating in Fates Warning during this time. Just listen to the “Disconnect” album released in 2000. Then again, Steven Wilson was doing the same in Porcupine Tree from the late 90’s.
The album could have ended here.
But there’s still more.
Too Little Too Late
It could come from a Creed album.
Another track with a Creed like sound.
To Be With You
It’s got an Incubus feel, rock with a jazz/funk feel. Estrin shows his varied guitar style, purely within a clean tone setting.
Give It Back
This track is ferocious and full of energy, like the Collective Soul heavy grooves. The interlude reminds me of “Linkin Park”,
Losing My Grip (Japanese Bonus Track)
This track should have been on the normal release. When the distorted riff kicks in from the 40 second mark, it reminds me of Papa Roach and “Last Resort” which also reminds me of Bruce Dickinson/Iron Maiden and “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter”.
The Chorus is like those Oasis/Alanis Morissette type of Chorus’s.
The last thirty seconds sees Estrin kick in with a little melodic riff/lead.
The Critic (Japanese Bonus Track)
A jazz style drum groove starts the song before the acoustic guitar kicks in, for a song which reminds of Incubus.
For their label debut, this is an excellent album. By October 2002, it was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
Then in 2003, “The Reason” came out. And we all know what happened after that. But that story is for another time.