Sound — 9
Album number three for the guys in Tenth Avenue North! After two solid and relatable efforts previously released, they still manage to put out a great album that delivers a new twist to their style while still keeping true to their sound. Mike Donehey's voice once again sounds great and really delivers, from upbeat songs like album opener "Shadows," to slow, emotional pieces like "Worn." He even dabbles in Pop/Rap genre with the lead single "Losing." As far as the music behind the words, Tenth Avenue North sounds fuller than ever before, thanks in part to the addition of Ruben Juarez III and Brendan Shirley, on bass and keys respectively. Once again, Jeff Owen delivers melodic, overdriven and powerful leads. Three records in it seems drummer Jason Jamison continues to reach new heights, driving the record home on every song. Aforementioned bass player Ruben brings a new energy to the rhythm section with a raw and borderline funk sounding bass arrangement. A great standout moment is the bassline during the breakdown on "Losing." Backing vocals are handled by Jeff, Jason, and Brendan who keep up a warm four part harmony with Mike on almost every song.
Lyrics — 8
Great lyrics on this album, no surprise! Mike and the guys continue to write their honest feelings and you can tell, there's no faking those emotions. The lyrics on "The Struggle" present brand new concepts and ideas with catchy wordings and phrases. The chorus of the title track shows that. A continued them of redemption and struggling can be heard throughout said title track, "Worn," "Grace," and "Where Life Will Never Die" prominently. Losing tells the story of someone who asks for help to forgive others, because God can truly forgive (like the webisode for losing says, God is not an Elephant!). The single comes together at the end with guest vocals from Reunion Records labelmate Moriah Peters.
Overall Impression — 8
"The Struggle" is the band's most solid effort yet. Where their previous albums seemed to lose track of ideas at some points, this album seems to be more of one thought, rather than a compilation of songs written around the same time. This is one of those records where it's best to listen from beginning to end, front to back; which is rare in pop-rock music today. The only drawback to that is that a few songs aren't as greatly developed as others, but the raw feeling and emotion makes it work. My favorite album from my favorite band! I actually have two... no joke, one of them isn't even opened yet just in case I lose or break the first one.