Reach deep into the memory banks and recall such classic Survivor hits as “The Search Is Over” and “Burning Heart.” Once that image/sound is conjured into the cerebrum, the brain will be in tune with the sound of Mecca. Mecca is a strong band that performs Album Oriented Rock (AOR) and was considered to be one of the best in the business when their debut album was released in 2002.
Mecca is a melody waiting to erupt. Keyboard driven rock with blistering guitars serve as the footprint for Undeniable. There is a lot of passion to be felt on the songs contained within Undeniable. Strong vocals combined with solid guitars and layers of keyboards are what make Mecca’s Undeniable an enjoyable album. What’s most enjoyable about this disc is the positive, uplifting hope that the lyrics and melody provide.
Opening track, “Perfect World,” sets the stage for the good vibes that can be felt throughout the record. Lead singer Joey Vana sings of how a perfect world would contain harmony and bliss. There would be no war, no crime, and no anger. In a perfect world there would be no need for money or time, because everyone would have all that they need. The message in the song is clear—if we all try hard enough, we can live in this peaceful, perfect world.
“From The Start” is decidedly the best song on Undeniable and the real gem of the record. Vana’s voice sounds exceptional and the guitar work from both Vana and Mark Alano provides an incredible musical backdrop. The song can transport the listener back to the days of youth, when getting over a heartbreak was the worst thing in the world. If I were a lovesick teenager once again, “From The Start,” would be at the top of my playlist. A passionate song sung with power and feeling, dealing with heartache and loss, “From The Start,” is an incredible song that has “hit” written all over it.
It is absolutely clear that Joey Vana has a solid voice. His strong vocals and high octave range are worthy of a melodic rock lead singer and may even leave other singers in the genre a little jealous. Vana’s vocal chords deliver the goods in a most enjoyable way. Basically, the man can sing with the best of them. While it may have taken Mecca nine years to record and release this album, it was well worth the wait. Vana’s vocals never falter, the guitar solos are blistering and fantastic, and the keyboards/synthesizers tie the melodies together in perfect harmony. What more could you ask for in a record?
If you are a fan of the heavier side of rock (speed metal, thrash), then Undeniable is probably not for you. However, if you are looking to discover some darned good music from a band that you may not be familiar with, then you should definitely give Mecca’s Undeniable a try. It’s a solid record that will bring your ears some joy.
Rating: Out of 10
- Perfect World
- Closing Time
- Ten Lifetimes
- Life’s Too Short
- I Know
- Did It For Love
- From The Start
- Deceptive Cadence
- As I Walk Alone
Joey Vana – Vocals and Guitars
Brian Moritz – Keyboards
Paul Pisciotto – Synthesizers
Wally Hustin – Bass
Rick Vitek – Drums
Mark Alano – Guitars
Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of MECCA’s anticipated second album Undeniable on November 4th in Europe and January 10th 2012 in North America.
Six years in the making Undeniable is the culmination of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Rewind to 2002: the Melodic Rock community is taken by storm by the debut album of a new band named Mecca. Formed by vocalist Joe Vana, he enlisted, among others, the services of former Toto members David Hungate (bass) and Fergie Frederiksen on vocals and close friend and former Survivor founding member Jim Peterik, who contributed masterfully to the songwriting and production of the album.
Mecca created a sonic treasure bringing the energy to drive diamond hard rockers and the finesse to create lush power ballads, all with the texture that, until now, only super-groups such as Journey, Toto or Foreigner could provide. Amazing press responses blessed the album’s release and Joe Vana soon started putting together plans for a follow up album. “I wanted a BAND sound, like the old days where all the guys played together in the room” tells Joe. “We came very close to doing just that… PLUS, I wanted an album Jim Peterik would hear and be proud that he worked so hard mentoring me for so many years. I had a challenge”.
Songwriting started in 2005 between Vana and Swedish guitarist Christian Wolff. In 2007 things really took a ground breaking turn with the songwriting masterpieces that Vana wrote with Swedish Producer/Songwriter/Guitarist Tommy Denander. Vana said: “The writing synergy between Tommy and I has been amazing, we think so much alike in terms of melody and space but sounds very different melodically than what we both have done separately, so it truly is a union of ideas…”. The musical direction soon showed that new heights in Melodic Rock music could be reached. “Since Tommy and Christian were my co-writers” continues Vana “I had parts of theirs from when we wrote the tunes that were stellar and it integrated wonderfully”.
Several problems created bumps in the road, including the death of Vana’s longtime friend and co-producer / engineer Bryan Mitchell which made the completion of the recording process extremely slow. Joe explains: “It took a lot of time to build the right team to produce with me, Mark Alano and Chuck Macak and to get the right combination of guys. I had an opportunity to hand pick a band and I was not going to ruin that! I know I was getting killed on the internet, but I needed to make sure it was ALL correct. The music had to be able to carry the melodies and the lyrical content I had written, this album had to flow correctly and I had a vision sonically I wanted as well… it was not an easy road…. and as far as the songs themselves, it is the best writing Tommy Denander and Christian Wolff have done. They were SO EASY to write with and we make a GREAT team!”.
Vana enlisted the talents of session masters such as Pat Mastellotto (King Crimson, Mr Mister), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), along with Denander and Wolff. His core band was also created around Rick Vitek on drums, Brian Moritz on keyboards, Wally Hustin on bass, Eric Ragno on keyboards, Mark Alano on guitar and Joe’s ace in the hole….his son Joey on guitars and backing vocals.
Fast forward to 2011. Mecca II Undeniable is finally completed and delivered. The results are breathtaking. According to Vana: “This is a thinking man’s record with a lot of Chicago AOR, Prog and a good dose of West Coast thrown in! You can listen to the album 10 times, and will hear different things each time…”. An album which perfectly melts the outstanding High-Tech AOR approach of Mr. Mister’s “Welcome to the Real World” to the commercial sheer brilliance of Toto’s “The Seventh One”. Oh and… the good news is that Mecca III is underway!
If Mecca I was born to unveil the treasures of the Melodic Rock genre to the unsuspecting public, then Mecca II Undeniable sets in stone the gospel of this music with stunning arrangements and unbelievable melodies. Mecca is now here to stay….get converted to their music!!!
Undeniable tracklisting includes:
The first single – the title-track Undeniable – can be streamed in full on the Frontiers Records web radiowww.frontiers.it/webradio
Joe Vana: Vocals
Joey Vana: Guitars
Brian Moritz: Keyboards
Paul Pisciotto: Synthesizers
Wally Hustin: Bass
Rick Vitek: Drums
Mark Alano: Guitars