Purple Eyes

Promotional Version - Whiteless Records - Release date 30th March 2007

Thomas Pihale is a guitarist from Germany. After seeing Ritchie Blackmore playing live with Deep Purple some 15 years ago, he bought a Fender Stratocaster and a small Marshall amp and decided to follow his idol's footsteps. After learning Deep Purple riffs and playing in different local bands, he started his solo project in 2002.

Blackmore's Night bassplayer Bob Curiano was asked to join the project after a Blackmore's Night concert in Rothenburg in 2003. After listening to some of Thomas' songs Bob was excited and agreed to play bass and coproduce The Rainstorm Project. Bob also supplied some guitar, keyboards and backing vocals.

Henning Schwarzhoff, a rock voice from Cologne, did the vocals for the harder songs. While Thomas persuaded his sister Sabrina to sing the ballads on his album. A third singer, Andreas Edel, sings on the bonustrack. Keyboards are done by Tobias Schadler and Heiko Lindenthal is behind the drumkit.

The album opens with the fine rocker "Pat The Cop", very good vocals in the Glenn Hughes style, good Blackmore style guitar solo. Great opener. "Standing here" is much more AOR with good Rainbow 80's guitarwork. "Purple Eyes" is a fine ballad with vocals by Thomas' sister Sabrina Pihale. "Since You've Been Gone" is not the Russ Ballard track Rainbow covered but an own composition. It's a fine ballad, sung again by Sabrina with some class guitarwork. The album is very diverse. "The Light" is more rockin' with good vocals by Henning Schwarzhoff. There are some more ballads on this CD like "Lovesong", "You Mean Everything To Me" and "Black Star", the last one with Henning on vocals.

"Scoundrel Days" is a cover from Norway's mid 80's success poptrio A-Ha. Great song! "Living In Hell" is dark & moody. A great 6 and a half minute epic, very heavy and a bit in the Cornerstone vein. The last part of the songs reminds me of Deep Purple "Fools" from the "Fireball" album.

"Tell Me Why" is a cover of Blackmore's Night "Memmingen". But this version is with vocals! Well done! There were some rumours on the internet that Ritchie Blackmore is playing on one track. Thomas told me this is not true, although he wouldn't have mind. Last track is an excellent instrumental titled "Alerik's Daughter". And there's a bonustrack, another version of "Standing Here". This time with another singer, Andreas Edel. There's not that much difference with the track earlier on the CD. Maybe Andreas' vocals are a touch lighter than Henning's.

All in all this is a fine debut. Musically it's very good, guitar is very much in the style of Ritchie Blackmore. Not really a surprise, but I must say that it's done very well. The rest sounds also pretty good, the singers are not outstanding but good enough to enjoy this CD. My favorite tracks are the rockin' "Pat The Cop" and the dark & moody "Living In Hell".

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

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