This is an NGADM Round 1 Review
I feel like such an ass for having you matched up with such hard-hitters again for this contest, especially after hearing this stellar piece of music. There's a real sense of emotion and progression behind your melodies, to the point that once we finally hit the end, it feels like I was sucked into a world and went on a journey, not unlike the feeling you get after watching a good movie. That definitely racks you a lot of points in my books, because orchestral is such a good storytelling genre, and you definitely nailed it in that respect.
I'm afraid that while I truly enjoyed the first half of your piece, the second half of the piece just... didn't do it for me. I mean, it was still great compositionally, but the drums are sorely lacking. I had high expectations for the drums since for pretty much the entire duration of the first half, you had this really fitting and intricate cymbal beat, but once the climax hit, the drums just devolved into a cheesy, MIDI-sounding, dry pop kit that didn't add nearly as much power as they should have.
I think the idea for the track is all there. The first half was gripping and well-composed, and the whole idea of building a huge amount of tension and then releasing it works really well for this style, but you could've executed it better, I feel, and the first step towards that better execution is having a more powerful and influential percussive section. Either way, thanks for the beautiful piece of music!