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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