This is an NGADM Round 1 Review
One thing I adore about this track is the whole "medieval" feeling you have going on, with the clear-cut cadences, minor key, and usage of orchestral instruments. It's not the first time anyone's heard metal being used in this setting, but it's done rarely enough for this to sound novel and original, so bravo! You have some pretty solid composition overall, great guitar playing, and some awesome rhythms.
My criticisms will probably simply be echoes of what's already mentioned. The mixing is certainly not bad, but it does get a bit undefined during the sections where no clear lead melody is happening in the foreground, like 1:08. The violin melody needs variety, desperately. I also feel like, while the solo violin fits for the softer parts, during the louder parts it sounds like too frail an instrument to match up with the beefy drums and aggressive electric guitar.
Lastly, you could have been a bit more... daring... in your instrumentation. You have this fantastic medieval setting you create with the violin, piano, and general compositional style, but you don't push it, sticking to essentially the same instrument set throughout the track. Throw in some choirs, bells, harpsichords, organs... this would all really help give this piece character and help you combat the everlasting battle against repetitiveness.
Those are my quick thoughts on this. It's a really fun track with huge amounts of potential. Good job on it, and I hope you enjoyed your time in the competition!
Thanks for the review Step! I've always had a thing for minor keys, Im glad you dig the composition. I took a bit of a chance with the repeating violin melody, I was attempting to treat it like the chorus but it didn't really work out as well as I hoped. I original had the violin playing all throughout the song but the 6/8 time made it start to sound more like a demented carousel, not that thats a bad thing but it wouldn't have worked for this song.
So I chose simplicity over more instrumentation, now that the song is done I can defiantly hear what you're saying tho and I completely agree that it could use more variety, a solo, more instruments ext.
Thanks again for the review, I had a lot of fun in the competition and I'm happy and grateful to have been a part of it!
The composition on this is solid man! The entire track is really dynamic and has a ton of variety. The drums in particular are pretty awesome, they have a lot going on and aren’t too distracting. You have a lot of instruments playing a lot of complex melodies at once and it’s all in tune and sounding nice! The melodies throughout the song are really nice, and you tie everything together really nicely with the dynamic and compositional changes throughout. Transitions are really solid and keep the track interesting. However I felt that the track needed some more melodic variety, it felt sort of boring when the track went back to that same solo violin part over and over. I suppose a little guitar solo or a different violin melody would have been nice.
I think that the mixing could use a little work. Like I mentioned before you have a lot of instruments with a lot of complex melodies. This is a double edged sword because you can have really awesome composition, but it becomes much more difficult to make sound good. The whole track just feels a little bit blurry and hard to follow (in terms of what instruments are playing). I’m not sure what to touch on exactly for why it sounds like it does, but I would say try reducing the reverb on your drums if possible to make it sound less boomy. Half of the production/mixing in music comes in the quality in the drums. The rest of the track sounds pretty nice when the drums aren’t there. Not to say that the song shouldn’t have drums, but I think that the drums just need a better sound. It could also be a lot of low-mid end with a combination of the drums and piano.
The violin patch is a little cheesy also. I understand it’s a little expensive, but there are some qualities to it that make it clearly fake. The guitar playing is awesome and sounds great, as well as the drums. Regardless of what I said about the mixing on the drums, the playing is good.
Nice work though man! Keep it up.
Thanks for the review Ryan, ahh drum mixing, yeah I admit its not my favorite part of making music. Lately I've opted to take a minimalistic approach to mixing drums in particular. Sometimes when I touch it too much it gets worse so I keep it where it is, I think in this case you're right and they needed a little more attention. Thanks for the EQ tips, Im starting to think it may be a rock guitar player's complex to go heavy over board on the low mids, something about the fatness of that frequency sounds good to my ears in the mixing/recording phase and it always ends up biting me in the butt later when I can hear the song in completion.
I admit Im a headphones mixer as I listen to everything with them in general, headphones can be deceiving tho. Small details sound bigger on them, small details are also easier to hear when you're the one who put them there, I know where the piano sits but the listener might miss it because they don't know its there. Its up to me to show you, hmm thats something to work on.
I'm glad you liked the guitar tones! Thats my 75' Hagstrom Swede and Slash Epiphone. I usually just use the Hag, but I thought I'd try them both together and it ended up making a pretty monstrous sound. I agree about the possibility of a solo, I used to solo more but I'd neglect the melody, now I spend to much time on the chorus melody and neglect the solo. So thats something to get back into.
The violin, lol thats actually a sample I found for free, some crazy guy made a sample of every note on their violin playing legato, pizzicato, tremolo and staccato, it was a little annoying to load them all into my sequencer one note at a time but they sound pretty cool with the right treatment. They've been my new favorite melody instrument and Ive been abusing the legato lately. I guess because I know they were made from a real instrument I like them better than synthesized strings. They sound far more real on my audition song Pathfinder, that violin for some reason likes G minor better than D minor and A, as they get a little flute-y sounding in different keys and faster notes are more difficult to fool the listener into thinking they're a live recording of a violinist.
I think I read somewhere once that as a digital composer, you're actually a "synthesists" we know we're not using live musicians and instruments half the time other than what we record live our selves. Its a bit of a magic trick when you think about it. Thats why Im glad you mentioned that the violin sounds fake, because it is. Perhaps slower speeds will fool you better next time even tho Ive already told you how the sausage was made.
Thanks for the detailed critiques man! Im appreciative to have been apart of the NGADM this year!
Pretty epic bro. Keep up the awesome. :)
Thanks V, I'm happy you dig it!
I liked the atmospheric and somewhat ominous intro. I think you needed a less abrupt transition at :21, although I like the powerful and energetic mood of this track and the contrast you offer between the majestic strings and edgy guitar sound. You created a really full texture here, which I love to see. I think there were several elements that got buried in the mix a bit, though. I can barely here the piano arpeggios at around 1:30, for example. This is a well-structured and generally smooth-flowing piece, though. I think it needed a lot more melodic development though. By the time the third refrain rolls around at 2:27 and it STILL lacks variation, I was a bit disappointed to be honest. I liked the ending a lot. It offered a return to the emotional and moody quality seen earlier in the piece, while at the same time making things quite conclusive. I suppose my main problems with this piece are the mixing issues and the lack of variety. Overall, though, this is solid work. Keep at it, man! ;)
This review was written for the Newgrounds Audio Death Match 2015.
Thanks for the review man, I defiantly agree with what you're saying about the mix and lack of variation. This song is a weird one because its basically the sound of me getting over a laps of insomnia, and yet I credit the insomnia for making me weird enough to do a hard rock song in 6/8, as I usually reserve that timing for ballads.
I hear what you're saying about the piano as well, which was basically the original backbone of the entire song, I have a habit of mixing as I go and relying on headphones over speaker monitors. This one is defiantly on my list of "songs to remix" because I'd like to release it on an instrumental album soon.
Anyway thanks again for the review, I'm totally happy to have been apart of round one and appreciative to make it past the auditions. I'll be back next year!
Rock and orchestral is one of my favorite musical combos of all time, and you definitely nailed it! :D Man, this song is so intense. It's got so many insane elements! The sounds themselves are just top-notch, and the composition is insane. It's got all those descending chord progressions that make the song flow super well! And the drums are brilliantly wild. Sounds like it would be a fun song to play :D
If I were to nitpick the song a little, I'd say that the structure of the song is a little packed, since there isn't much of a break between 0:35-2:53. Also, this isn't really anything wrong with the song, but I think a killer guitar solo would've sounded awesome somewhere in here :D
Great work! And good luck with the NGADM! :P
Hey man thanks so much for the review, Im glad you dig it! Yeah I hear what you're saying about a solo section, I'll defiantly keep that in mind for the next song I do.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.