1. Perfect World
2. Closing Time
3. 10life
4. Life's Too Short
5. I Know
6. Did It For Love
7. From The Start
8. Deceptive Cadence
9. W2w
10. Undeniable
11. As I Walk Alone.

Joe Vana: Vocals
Joey Vana: Guitars
Brian Moritz: Keyboards
Paul Pisciotto: Synthesizers
Wally Hustin: Bass
Rick Vitek: Drums
Mark Alano: Guitars

Mecca (2002)

Tommy Denander
Christian Wolff
Tony Levin
Pat Mastelotto

Produced By: Joe Vana, Chuck Macak & Mark Alano
Main Recording: Chuck Macak-ElectroWerks Recording Studios
Downers Grove, Illinois
Engineered by: Chuck Macak
Assistant Engineer-Joey Vana
Mixed By: Chuck Macak
Mastered By: Chuck Macak

Released 4/11-2011
Reviewed 15/11-2011


Once upon a time a band called Mecca released their debut album, it featured stars like Survivor’s Jim Petrik and Toto’s Fergie Frederiksen and was a band around singer Joe Vana. This debut was universally praised by the press and many people held it in high esteem, at least according to the label and some reviewers who are quoting the label, I have not been able to find any proof of this and as this debut was released in 2002 at the peak of my musical interest in a genre I enjoy the most of all I find it a bit odd that I now less than a decade later cannot remember this release or even the band. I wonder if I have simply forgotten it or maybe it is the label that is exaggerating things, something that never happens so it have to be the former.

But why am I speaking of these times long gone then? Well, this band is now releasing their long awaited second album, again I am quoting the label and some reviewers on this. They seem to be partly right in this as it has gotten the obligatory exceedingly high rating from many reviewers stating it was worth the wait and something you can’t miss, it is unbelievably good (something May said about the racing Aston Martin without AC or comfortable seat in the middle of summer in Italy as well so we all know what that means), etcetera and etcetera. I actually think that the average rating of melodic rock albums from AOR Heaven and Frontiers on the web is 6/7 converted to the hallowed scale, so this year has been impossibly good when it comes to melodic rock if we are to believe what we read around the web.

Musically we are speaking of melodic rock as is almost customary when it comes to Frontiers, they are inspired by the past greats Journey, Survivor, Foreigner, Toto and so on. Their music sounds a bit like a cheaper version of any of these three, like a chinese made Toto or Journey which means made by children with no sense of quality which in turn means that it might be great or it might be really bad. Maybe low budget version of said bands is a better analogy. Sound is a bit restrained I would say, like they are trying to prevent something evil to come out through their music or something similar to that. The sound is also of the warmer kind which might be to keep the evil back as well, the tempo is most of the time quite low and it is far from the super catchy choruses of the four mentioned bands that are made to grab you at first listen. Mecca does some catchy but it feels a bit restrained, maybe due to the voice of Vana but I think that the overall feel is a bit restrained, almost like they are a afraid to really let loose. The album has eleven tracks, it is almost 52 minutes long if you decide to play through the entire thing at once.

What I wonder, despite having eaten the fruit of wisdom is what made this band so fantastic back in 2002, what did they have that accomplished all positive reviews? What made all the fans adore them? What made me forget them? I wonder because I cannot find a trace of greatness in this band, skill yes but greatness not in the slightest. The album feels slow and sleepy, it feels sleepier than a room filled with sleeping gas. I actually think it is more energetic to sleep than listen to this album, the thing that in energy is most similar to this album would be a corpse. There are one or two exceptions, the opening track is semi-energetic and far more than the rest of this album besides track nine W2W which is the most energetic on the album besides the strange stops here and there but I guess they had to rest at times because of the massive tempo. These said tracks are also amongst the ones I consider good along with track three 10Lifetimes which is good but a bit repetetive, the title track is the highlight on the album, an average AOR ballad. Track seven is also a track that is alright, From the Start it is called.

Most of the album though is extremely sleepy, well made it is for sure but it is like on hypnotics you could say. Not maybe necessarily boring but neither far from being it. It just has nothing to grab you as a listener and therefore it is just something you play through and forget, maybe that is what happened to me with the first album as well. The question if that’s the case is why there are people actually saying it is so fantastic, but there are people for all strange ideas so I guess that’s just human nature.

I don’t really want to be down on things that someone has worked hard on for years but I think Vana and whoever helped him could have spent their times much better than making this album. This is an album for you who enjoys the great showing of paint drying, baseball, american football, insects flying into the electrical insect killer, or staring into a white wall.



Label: Frontier Records
Three similar bands: Toto/Survivor/Journey
Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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