I agree with your thoughts on the pad. Muddy, kicks out that neat bass you have goin' on. Do you have this all below 0dB? That part has some clipping in my headphones, but that could just be because of overly immense bass in the mix.
I think this is a pretty solid piece, great mix (other than issues already stated) and it keeps you interested throughout. Reminds me of some Kirby 64 music or the original .hack games music.