Released March 14, 2013
47 min, 52 sec
In Act 6 of Homestuck, we were introduced not only to the human protagonists of the “rebooted” universe, but also to two mysterious aliens that communicated only through instant message with the humans. Eventually identified as Calliope and Caliborn, these two characters would be one of the primary mysteries throughout the early parts of Act 6, their stories eventually intertwining with that of the entire comic – Caliborn in particular. For spoiler-related reasons, I won’t go further than that in giving this album some backstory, but it is worth noting that the album did not come out until much of the mystery surrounding both characters was resolved.
Cherubim is a soundtrack album of two halves. The odd-numbered tracks, belonging to Calliope, are soft, bouncy, and innocent, making use of gentle, ambient instrumentation for many of the tracks, to illustrate Calliope’s pure nature. By contrast, the even-numbered tracks, centered around Caliborn, are harsh and abrasive, with heavily sinister overtones all throughout, crushing and overpowering everything around them. Calliope’s tracks focus on gentle, intricate melodies, while Caliborn’s plow forward with rage and malice, illustrating the wide gap in personality between the two. Even the album’s tracks and individual track art reference this divide, with each pair of tracks being two sides of a coin, in essence, much like Calliope and Caliborn.
These two sides unify in “Eternity Served Cold,” the album’s final track, where the instrumentation and pacing of both sides collide in an epic conclusion to Cherubim. The music swells and ebbs throughout, full of dramatic tension, conveying a sense of urgency and tension. Calliope’s musical motifs never quite disappear throughout, though there are several moments where Caliborn’s aggressive guitar riffs threaten to overtake the entire song. It serves as a strong illustration of the symbiotic relationship the two have, while also making it clear that the two are constantly at odds.
This album was the last one released before Homestuck’s year-long hiatus from October 2013 to October 2014, and stands as an appropriate indicator, in musical terms, of where the comic currently stands – with the fate of its characters in the hands of these two characters, permanently intertwined, and permanently opposed.