The quest for individual expression runs like a red thread through Jonathan Hultén's career. With his band Tribulation he has been questioning stereotypes of the Death and Black Metal scene for years. Now he is releasing his first album as a solo artist and could hardly be further removed stylistically from his other project.
Jonathan Hultén is unique. You can tell just by the way he speaks. He thinks long and hard about every answer, as if he fears saying the wrong thing. "I'm not comfortable with the spoken word," he confesses. "I'm better at writing." Not to mention singing. Combined with a melody, the uncertain, soft speaking voice of the Swede transforms into a variable vocal organ that is enchanting in both low and high registers. On his debut "Chants From Another Place", for example, he often takes on the role of three singers simultaneously. The folk trio Frifot had a major influence on this. His almost one and a half minute a cappella piece "Werlden Äe Underlig" made a lasting impression on Hultén. "This song was one of the cornerstones of 'Chants'. The concept of three-part harmony is based on it."
Yet one actually knows Hultén from a completely different musical environment. For 15 years he has been playing in the death metal band Tribulation, which he co-founded when he was a teenager and which he has since steered onto more melodic paths together with his guitar partner Adam Zaars - and which he has decisively shaped not only musically but also visually. On stage, Hultén moves like a ballet dancer, exploring his feminine side and thus breaking common clichés of the heavy scene. "I needed something else to express myself," he remembers the emergence of his stage personality. "It started when we moved to Stockholm after school and started playing live with Tribulation. There were about 20 of us, and I thought there was something missing when we were on stage. We were headbanging and that was it. It felt meaningless. Step by step I tried out movements, different make-up, approaches, clothes. Every show, a little bit changed. In the years that followed, it developed organically and led to what I am today, ten years later."