Cata9tales is the brainchild of frontman Berkley Priest, an enigmatic performer with a strong style and flow that defies categorization. Less a rapper than a rocker who rhymes, Priest draws influence from David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and David Lee Roth. A veteran of the rock and psychedelic scenes, Cata9tales is the first time that Priest has ventured into hip-hop territory. Lyrically, Priest employs colorful turns of phrase and vocal inflections that make him entirely unique within a saturated scene. His performances border on the possessed, tapping into an energy that only a performer that has spent years in the rock trenches can.
Kreator (Kenny Perkins) is a musical journeyman who can play nearly any instrument and has an ear for composition and song structure that makes him an anomaly in the hip hop world. Refusing to settle or take short cuts, it is Kreator’s perfectionism and ear for turning the absurd into musical gold that gives Cata9tales its soul and punch.
Cata9tales have crafted a truly fresh sound and developed an intensely loyal following, having toured extensively throughout the Southeast and ranking #1 on Reverbnation regionally. Their first release, the old-school influenced, cathartic “Kick the Bad Love” announced their arrival. Their follow-up EP “A Chameleon’s Dream,” released just 6 months later, shows a band that was unwilling to be pigeonholed, as the flows, song structure and sonic experimentation reached new levels.
“Kaboombox” is the perfect opening to an album. A loud shout and hectic bassline make way for the funky rapping of Berkley Priest’s explosive vocals and harmonic choruses. “Open Letter to Generation Adderall” continues the driving funky trend with a high-octane bass and a fuzzy anthemic chorus, while “Keep the Diamond, I’m Rhyming Now (feat. Italia)” dramatically confirms the fervent pace of this album after only 3 tracks.
The songs on the album are almost all hit single material, with choruses are instantly ear-catching and beats that are incredibly strong and driving. This blend of alternative punk/funk/rap generates the kind of songs you can listen to over and over again.
“A Chameleon’s Dream” hosts ten tracks of which “Kaboombox,” Ghettotron,” “Ultralife,” Phoenix Weather” and “Stronger Than Me (Amy’s Song)” are absolute highlights.
Cata9tales take rap and hip-hop up more than a few notches with their unique personal flair, giving us beats and rhymes much more complex and musically adept than what we’re normally used to on mainstream radio. Lyrically, the band is insane, startling and scathing while weaving all of their emotions into a consolidated trademark style.
“A Chameleon’s Dream” is an intense and relentless album that will impress many with it’s solid funky jams and vocal mayhem, packaged into rhythms and rhymes that are spot on, in creativity and innovation. It’s those very rhythms and rhymes that make you stop and take notice, and force you to believe that Cata9tales is something special.
Overall, if you take a pass on the Cata9tales, you are going to miss out on an essential piece of indie alternative hip-hop history, no matter how you slice it.