Album review: MECCA – III

MelodicRock Records [Release date 14.10.16]

It seems ages since the last Mecca album came  out, ‘Undeniable’, although in fact it came out in 2011 and not that long in some bands eyes. However, this third album has been recorded over the past three years and thankfully MelodicRock Records are giving it a release. Joe Vana is the mastermind behind this and he is joined by top draw musicians including Toto’s drummer Shannon Forrest (who also handles production), fellow Toto member David Hungate and keyboards player Tim Akers (Rascal Flatts/Kid Rock).

This is glorious stuff it has to be said, from the crystal clear production through to the vocals of Joe Vana. Given his vocal style and the fact two Toto members are involved in the music, it is not surprising the sound of that band is all over the sound, none more so than on the blissful ‘Unknown’. The way ‘Alone’ builds up from the keys, percussion, keys and handclaps to a rousing chorus is simply magnificent. This is how you do ballads and ones that will stand the test of time.

West Coast fans will lap up the gentle refrains of ‘Gone’ and again you marvel at the musicianship and how new sounds reveal themselves after each listen. ‘A Kiss On the Wind’ is a vocal tour de force from Joe Vana, with just the right amount of musical backing. Shannon Forest deserves a special mention to for not only  the production/sound, but also his drumming which is spot on and never too much or too little.

I can easily see this album making many melodic rock/AOR fans year end best of lists and although only eight songs, it is all about the quality not quantity. Mecca show again how top quality melodic rock is done and then some. Even better news is that album number four is underway, so hopefully not such a long wait between albums. ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.

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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)

Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)



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