This is an Official NGUAC '18 Knockout Round Review
Beginning Comments: The intro sets up the song well, and the theme you set matches the title. It feels very open and has a nice realism to it.
Production / Mixing: This sounds like a finished work. I would guess that's why I'm seeing you put so many hours into this is the production. The balancing is nice, and there's a good amount of reverb where it needs to be. I think it was a bit much at a few spots, but there was good care in making everything play in the same environment.
Composition / Structure: The main theme you have is great. It's a brooding chord progression that sets the tone well. It starts of with an open and ominous impression, but it doesn't do much aside from that. Aside from the 2:31 section increasing in tempo and adding in some other arpeggiated synths I feel like this song doesn't change up that much. It felt like this song needed some change in chord progression or an overlying melody to carry through what was happening. For example, what I was expecting when you transition before the 1:36 section that maybe you'd bring in a slightly more developed theme of what you've introduced leading up to it. Take the dynamics down a bit and add a melody and some fast moving strings in somewhat of a John Williams style.
Sound Design: For the most part, the quality is rather decent. Let me just get this out of the way by saying that the trumpets at 1:37 sounded obviously MIDI. I would have maybe used a different VST or add some automations to make it more humanized because they almost sounded like a synth. I'm saying that because everything else sounded so much more real. The crashes were excellent, the bells were nice, the seemingly almost (again almost) random digital synths and guitars brought in around 2:33 fit well. You handled a lot of instruments beautifully so I'm surprised by the trumpet quality at 1:37. The whole song is actually a nice blend of orchestral and other electronic instruments because it all sounded quite organic.
Ending Comments: The biggest issue was that it felt very similar for the whole 5 minutes. It would have been nice to hear a little more development in areas like different melodies or chord progressions. However, it is well polished. It was pleasing to listen to and sounded mostly consistent within itself.
Production - 1
Composition - 0.5
Structure - 0.5
Sound Design - 1
Replay - 0.5
Total - 7
*Disclaimer - to make judging consistent with other judges, individual category scores are multiplied by 2 to make a total possible 10 points.