I know this has many plays, downloads, and favorable reviews, and as a result I'll get scorned for typing my honest opinion, but here it goes...
The pianowork is moody, but it is nothing special, chords are heavy and I like them, but the general pianowork just falls into very familiar tropes, and that is why I believe many people like it - taste is created upon the foundation of familiarity - but it lacks a bit in creativity.
The change of rhythm that comes with the strings at 00:50 is welcomed, it definitely improves pacing up to that point.
I did not appreciate that after 1:00 the piano went into higher registry and it's heavy quality was lost, now the strings draw attention, and by their repetitive nature by 1:15 they get repetitive and really drag the whole composition. The 1:20 strings hardly add anything, and if one thing is clear by now is that the track surely lacks a strong melody. And then the 1:50 brass comes and only sort of saves the day.
I'll add that the mastering is good.
2:30, and the right panned strings are still there, and this whole sections wants to be a bridge, and add dramatic tension, but it does not, sadly.
And then the second half suffers from the same faults, with the added note that a clear low, bass instrument is lacking and it shows.
The end does have its redeeming qualities, but they are not enough.
Now, this is not a bad piece by any means, but it could definitely be improved - it is highly overrated, and what that does is only make you overlook the tracks, and maybe your style's shortcomings, bad for your progress.
You can take this review for whatever you want, there's definitely nothing personal, and it's just my 2 cents.
I really appreciate the honesty in your review! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and there is nothing wrong with that. Music is very subjective and you will always find someone who loves and hates certain pieces, and it's a double edged sword because you can get people who aren't very helpful, and there are some people who are helpful. Also you can never know what an artist has in mind, or what their intention for the music was. Regardless of anything, I can't judge anyone for any of these things because it's honestly the best feedback I can get, and I can always improve from any feedback I get one way or another. The best I can do is explain why I did certain things and what the logic was behind them, and perhaps you might have a counter argument or idea to capture the same emotion.
You should know that I was going for a specific mood and had a specific story idea in mind, and a lot of the things you mentioned as problems were great factors to what my intentions for the piece were. And even the most subtle ideas can make the biggest difference. That piano at 1:00 you are talking about is actually a different instrument, and not a piano at all, so that might be why it loses it's heavy quality. You make a good point though, it does take out of the feeling a bit. I'll keep that in mind for the future.
I'm not sure if I get what you mean by the section wanting to be a bridge and build dramatic tension. I think the fact that it goes the other direction builds on the emotion a bit more. Going up throughout the piece and then cutting itself off. And as for the bass... I totally screwed up and didn't realize it until after I finished the piece, but I cut out a decent amount of the mids in the bass for the strings and that really took a toll on the bass and mid area. You were actually one of the first people to pick up on that!
You give some great feedback, and I do appreciate everything you said and will keep it in mind for future pieces that I make. Thanks for the feedback!