This is an NGADM Round 2 Review
I usually write NGADM reviews in the order of the official pairings, but just this once I feel like making an exception because this was one of the standout tracks of the round and I have some stuff I've been itching to say about it. So, here we go!
The composition is tremendously good. Like, I am in awe here, listening to how effortlessly you command your melodies. This has some of the best composition I've heard in this competition so far - straightforward and catchy enough to appeal to casual listening, but with tons of juicy, more complex content such as the time signature changes and modulations. Your use of motif ties everything together beautifully, making for a truly epic listening experience.
Now for the issues I have with the track! First off, I have some mixing qualms. I think this is a really wonderful and full mix, but at the same time, I was bummed to hear parts where the different parts of the song just get drowned out, like 1:25 and towards the end. I also absolutely agree that the drums should be louder, particularly the snare and cymbals. I could feel a nice punch from the kick but I was hoping for more power in the other drum hits. Another small thing I feel like I should mention is that there's this resonant, shrill tone that plays at 1:34's section and I can't for the live of me figure out what it is, but it's driving my ear crazy haha.
Lastly, in the transitions department, while you had some really fantastic transitions like 0:21, you also had ones that you didn't quite sell me on. 2:07's transition could have been much better executed, I feel. The dissonance is rather off-putting, and rather than giving the intended effect of "hey, we're introducing the main melody again, so here's a cool buildup", it feels more like "I want to get back to the main melody again but I'm not really sure how", lol. I'd have chosen a different set of chords to pull off that transition. On a final note, the ending felt a bit underwhelming, given the huge and exciting demeanour of the track. I would have personally gone for something more bombastic.
I've spent more time complaining about the bad stuff than praising the good stuff, but I feel like criticism is more helpful to you than blind praise haha. I need to emphasise that this is a REALLY good track, and it got my second highest score of the round. Can't stress that enough. Brilliant job you two. I deeply look forward to what you'll cook up next.