Interesting remarks: the critic makes it sound derivitave, a pastiche. But my superficial take was really that; being clueless about the quality and track record of the critic, I would give the piece a go. And I used the Tannhauser remark as am example of a clueless critic. This one may be reliable for all I know. But even the casual use of 'Machiavellian' sets my teeth on edge. It is used in such lazy shorthand and by people who have either never read him, or read him and totally misunderstood him and his work. So that makes me instantly want to give the composer the benefit of the doubt, possibly unjustly.
BTW, please don't read any of the above as even remotely combative. I am not countering any points, just sharing my thinking.