So I see you've won the NGADM. Congratulations! Now it's time to see why...yup, I see why. Rock and orchestral were meant to be together and you've proven it, guys. It has a great sense of flow to it, and some pretty cool pacing about it too. I love all the melodic riffs, like at around 1:40, and the mixing and mastering is simply top-notch. It has a very intricate structure that really tells a story. The mood is excellent - alternating between victorious, reflective, anticipatory, and several others. If I had to complain about anything, it might be that the intricate structure makes it a little hard to follow all the ups and downs of the piece sometimes. Also, the ending was a bit abrupt. I suppose I expected it to wind down a bit more before the end. Overall, though, this is quite admirable work, and you'll probably see some more reviews on your other NGADM tracks from me in the coming weeks... ;)
Thank you friend! I always appreciate your reviews, and thanks for following along through the contest!
This is a NGADM Round 2 Review.
- Perfect blend of orchestral and rock!
- Wonderful melodies, excellent composition overall.
- Chromatic percussion & piano! +++
- Excellent guitar playing!
- Strings were implemented well.
- Good mix.
First off, awesome tip of the hat to Samwise! Love it. Anyway, what can I say? This track is epic, it's just plain awesome. The melodic work is spot-on. Everything blends wonderfully. Like Stunkel, I thought this was going to be something straight out of some RPG title or another (it definitely would be suited to that)! For each transition, I was eager to see where the song would take me next. The key word here is eager. When a piece of music draws you in and interests you in a real way, that's a sure sign of a well-structured, well-written track. By the way, I loved the part at 2:32...gosh, it's so great!
What to consider:
- Some transitions could be smoother.
- A good mix overall, though some things fall short (portions of the drums, the chromatic percussion, strings, etc.)
Some of those transitions are a little jarring, 1:23 comes to mind! It seems everyone had something to say about them, so I won't blab on about it. As I've stated, the mix is great, but there were times when certain instruments were washed away by the guitar, or even the strings. At 2:32, I feel as if the piano should take precedence over the strings. That's just my opinion, though! :)
A job well done, and then some. Can't wait to see what's next, you guys!
Samwise never gets the spotlight! haha, thanks for the review man, we put some hard work into this. I agree with your critiques, our hope is that we get better as this goes on. The part at 2:32 is my favorite as well :D Thanks again for the review!
This is an NGADM 2015 review.
I really love the piano in this! It works so well in such an exciting track and is one of the most interesting elements to me in this one. What also really gets me about this track is how memorable it is, because it's quite catchy, but you're not afraid to stray from simplicity (where most of catchyness lies) and I think you've hit a really nice mid-point between the two.
So as with most of my reviews this round, it seems I'll mostly be praising the composition and instrumentation and nitpicking the mix :P sorry
So right out the gates the piano and cymbals are beautiful! The tone of the piano is really excellent by the way, I don't know why I'm so excited about that. Is it recorded or are you using a VST? Anyway - there are a few things I notice as soon as you bring everything else in at 21 seconds, namely that the low frequency sub-impact thing you have muddies up the mix a little (needs more of a transient, imo) and that it really exaggerates how I expect the chorus mix to sound, as there's more low frequency content in the first half second or so of it than in most of the chorus itself (I think I mentioned something similar in the previous round, although it could have been on another song). The other thing is that the percussion is quite quiet and lacks impact, especially the kick. The cymbals are actually pretty damn nice and airy, but I'm finding the kick and snare are a little low. The interesting thing is that later on at 1:10, it all sounds pretty great! Kick could be taken up a bit, but otherwise it all sounds fantastic. It's more in the main choruses that your percussion is somewhat overpowered.
Something else I'm noticing is that at 1:24 you really need some kind of transitional element to give the new chorus some impact, especially since the percussion in this section is quite low as well. I also am unsure about the panning you're doing on the kick. The idea is solid, but because the kick is so overpowered, when it comes into the sides it ends up being a lot more audible (especially in the high end) which creates this feeling of inconsistency for me.
I think the part at 2:10 is pretty solid, (melodically it's GOD DAMN AMAZING) though, partially because you've got those orchestral toms and whatnot. I think it's a much more appropriate pace/style of percussion for the sound and takes a more appropriate background role to the lead instruments. It also has a lot more impact and power than the kick drum in previous sections, and it's a lot more exciting. I suppose "exciting" is a pretty appropriate way to end it, and it works well :D
Sorry about nitpicking, by the way, because this is an awesome track. Great transitions, great melodies, great chords, great instrumentation. It's been a blast to listen to :P
Geoplex, thanks for the review! Really glad you liked the piece. And don't worry about the nitpicking, it's what makes us better musicians! Yes, transitions were a tough one for this song, but we're paying closer attention to them! Time is tough to come by >_< thanks again for the review! We really enjoyed making this one.
Omgomgomomg I'm in love. The composition, how the melodies and rhythms play off each other, how the whole comes together... Just blew me away. So much greatness in one song. My favourite NGADM 2015 track so far. So many things in this, make it a fantastic experience.
What needs clean socks:
I think the track needs a little more love when it comes to the final polish - mastering - to give it more clarity or more of a bite. It's REALLY hard to mix such complex music - I know, I've made a hobby of it too - and I think you're still at the phase where you can't quite decide what is important or maybe can't discern when one thing is treading on another's toes. How long do you spend mixing this kind of song typically? Do you revist a few days later?
Also I agree with Step - a couple of the transitions are a little awkward and there is a subtle amount of dissonance at times which doesn't do the epicness of the song justice.
When I heard this, I just go so excited. Thanks for rocking my world for 3 minutes and 28 seconds. ^_^
Thank you for the kind words and honest critique. Mixing for huge orchestra is definitely not easy. Josh has been doing most of the work on that end, and for this competition we really don't have time to sit down and go over the mix together like we do with the compositional part of things. As we go on though we're learning some tricks which help. Continuing to work on those transitions!
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.
Step! I'm glad you liked the track, we're working hard to keep up with this schedule D: I'm honored to make the top of your review list, and we will definitely use your critiques in the next round. THERE WILL BE DRUMS (maybe).... (Ok there will definitely be drums). And I think that the only thing at 1:34 is the guitar and a solo horn, I'm not sure what you are hearing.
As I mentioned in my reply to johnfn, we skimped a bit in the transitions department, which we will not do in this upcoming round. Already working hard, hope to kill it!
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.