February 26, 2022

This wonderfully packaged set of remastered albums from the American melodic rock band Mecca is virtually perfect melodic rock heaven and the smooth and golden vibes within are sure to please every AOR fan lucky enough to hear it. The package contains the albums Mecca from 2002, Undeniable from 2011 and III from 2016 with all tracks having been remastered plus there are five bonus tracks to savour too so those always looking for extras should be happy too.

The band was formed in Chicago by the singer Joe Vana who had a great start to his music career by meeting Jim Peterik of Survivor fame at the tender age of thirteen and it seems he took him under his wing and taught him what he needed to survive in the business. Some fifteen years later Vana began work with Peterik which led to them forming a band called Project Voyager which subsequently became Mecca with Peterik involved in the song writing process. They released the self titled debut in 2002 with some choice musicians involved with David Hungate (ex-Toto) on bass, Shannon Forrest on drums, Fergie Frederiksen (ex-Toto) on vocals, Mike Aquino (Joe Vana’s guitar teacher) on guitars, Jimmy Nichols on keyboards and, of course, Vana on vocals. The album was a classy and cultured affair with amazing vocals from Vana and Frederiksen with sumptuous and beautiful harmonies and wonderfully laid back and perfectly controlled instrumentation making the album a debut of distinction. Of course, there was an element of Toto and Survivor about the band but when you are pursuing the AOR route then there will always be comparisons with bands like Giant, REO Speedwagon and Mr. Mister with those comparisons holding true for their later albums too.

We then had to wait until 2011 for the next instalment and the band did not disappoint with Undeniable. This release saw a totally revamped band with Joe Vana becoming the sole vocalist, Mark Alano on guitar, Brian Moritz on keyboards, Paul Pisciotto on synthesizers, Wally Hustin on bass and Rick Vitek on drums. Much of the song writing was done in collaboration with Christian Wolff and Tommy Denander which brought in a more keyboard oriented sound but with plenty of guitar power to back it all up too. ‘Undeniable’ took what the band had produced on the debut and built upon it to create another perfectly crafted AOR album full of charm, stunning musicianship, sumptuous melodies and exceptionally strong, radio friendly songs with plenty of exquisite guitar to please those looking for a rockier side to the band as well.

Another six years had to pass in the long wait for the third album, simply called III, and it was another tweaked line-up which brought us another sublime and delicious melodic rock classic. As usual, Vana supplies wondrous vocals with his young son Joey coming in on guitars alongside Mark Baldwin with contributions from Ethan Forrest and Sol Littlefield. Shannon Forest supplied the drums, David Hungate on bass and Tim Akers on keyboards with David Browning on synths. As with the previous two records, III was full of wonderfully worked songs with simply perfect production with all of the musicians playing at the top of their respective games. Mecca should have more acclaim for their recorded output as these records show an exquisite band performing AOR as well as any of the big name bands from the 70’s and 80’s and maybe that is the real problem. I’m sure that if Mecca had released these works of art in the 1980s then people would be talking about Journey, Toto, Styx and Mecca as all being at the pinnacle of melodic rock. Have a listen and make your mind up and even if the smooth rock tones of AOR are not entirely your thing then have a listen to Joe Vana in full flow to hear a true master at work.

This is a beautifully produced set with a great re-mastering job and some intriguing bonus tracks that are all vintage Mecca and rarely will you ever hear smooth AOR like this.

20 Years


  1. Velocitized (3:46)
  2. Without You (4:19)
  3. Can’t Stop Love (4:58)
  4. Silence Of The Heart (5:26)
  5. You Still Shock Me (5:03)
  6. Mecca (5:17)
  7. Wishing Well (4:46)
  8. Close That Gap (4:57)
  9. Blinded By Emotion (4:29)
  10. Falling Down (4:53)
  11. Miss-Chevious (bonus track) (4:48)


  1. Perfect World (4:01)
  2. Closing Time (3:51)
  3. Ten Lifetimes (5:13)
  4. Life’s Too Short (4:04)
  5. I Know (4:17)
  6. Did It For Love (6:03)
  7. From The Start (5:11)
  8. Deceptive Cadence (6:10)
  9. W2W (3:13)
  10. Undeniable (4:16)
  11. As I Walk Alone (5:01)
  12. How Many Times (bonus track) (4:41)


  1. Take My Hand (3:18)
  2. Unknown (4:23)
  3. Alone (5:02)
  4. Gone (4:44)
  5. Cry (4:23)
  6. A Kiss On The Wind (3:33)
  7. Let It Go (3:26)
  8. Believe (4:56)
  9. Alone (Re-imagined version) (5:02)
  10. Unknown (Re-imagined version) (4:23)
  11. Know (Demo) (4:01)
  12. Ten Lifetimes (Demo) (5:47)
Can’t Stop Love from 2002 album Mecca