So I finally got around to reviewing this! Being your NGADM contest audition, I suppose I can use this review to try and address why you didn't make it in, although let me make it clear from now that I do think you deserved a spot in the competition. I in fact did vote for you if I remember correctly. In that light, I'm probably not the best judge to get a review from, since I'm sure it'd be a lot more helpful to get opinions from the judges who didn't vote for you.
Overall your amount of votes from the judges was JUST short of enough to land you a spot in the contest. To make matters even closer, when InYourDreams had to step out, it was a toss between an even smaller amount of people, including LunacyEcho and you. So yeah, just to give you an idea how close it actually was (yes I am desperately trying to get you to stop bugging me about it and yes I know you won't stop that easily :3).
But yeah, that aside, time to talk about the track. In my personal notes that I wrote for each audition, I commended you on your composition and percussion, but had "sounds formulaic" written down. My opinion on that is still unchanged - your melody and harmony is still pretty damn good, your rock drums add a very welcomed energetic and exciting flair to the track and yes, unfortunately it does sound fairly formulaic. Let me be a bit more specific.
I actually don't agree with LunyAlex on the progression - I don't think it's that great (unless he was talking about the CHORD progression which is pretty sweet). The way the track progresses is actually one of the main reasons why I think it sounds formulaic. Almost every four bars you introduce one or two new elements, and there's very little buildup or suitable anticipation for any of the new melodic elements you introduce, save for maybe the staccato strings that start fading in around 40 seconds into the track, and come on, that's just a bland fade-in.
That and the lack of variety in your chord progression give this track kind of an artificial and formulaic structure and sound. It's like I can imagine the FL Studio patterns playing in my head when I hear this, and I shouldn't be imagining that. I should be imagining the picture you paint with this track and the emotions you convey, not piano rolls and step sequencers, if you get what I mean!
The structure of this track and its progression is simply too linear. I want to hear more meaningful buildups beyond fade-ins, I want to hear contrasts, foreshadowing, call-and-response, subtle little intricacies that take many listens to notice... things like that. It's not about me hating on a more simple, minimalist approach, but I feel like a larger degree of unpredictability, dynamics and versatility would elevate this track immensely.
Also, I hate to constantly send you Denny Schneidemesser music and I bet you're sick of him now (BUT YOU SHOULDN'T BE BECAUSE HE'S AWESOME)... but yeah I think this track of his could serve as GREAT inspiration for music of this genre:
It's a similar approach to your track - it tries to sound hopeful, expressive and even has some subtle rock drums at one point. The difference is, it has a much less linear structure, has BUCKETLOADS of sweet call-and-response between instruments, and swells/dies down much more naturally. Something to work on!
Now I mean it wouldn't be a full review if I just complain about what this track could improve in. There are some things which you actually do really well in this, which actually led me to voting for your audition in the NGADM. Your melodies, harmonies, layers of different instruments playing different passages, accompaniment (especially of the percussive kind) and overall balance of different instruments are all on point! While I think you could've been a bit more ambitious and brave with your instrument choice (some woodwinds would've been nice), your instrumentation is good too. While the issue I've talked about for most of the review is present and does hurt the enjoyment factor of this piece, there are tons of redeeming factors. It's a huuuge improvement from the last track I reviewed from you, Despondency!
So yeah, those are my honest thoughts about it. Keep up the good work man, and I wish you luck in your journey to become an ORCHESTRAL PRO.