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The best new rock albums you can buy this week

Royal Blood, Styx and Barb Wire Dolls are all among the new rock album releases most worthy of your attention this week

Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?

"Royal Blood’s new album has a title which chimes with the times, and music which hones and turbocharges rock’s vocabulary for the unforgiving modern era. Royal Blood have never claimed to reinvent the wheel, but in recent years they have reinvigorated the popular face of the hell-raising riffs genre. Now they surmount the challenge of the ‘difficult’ second album with ease, turning down their power not a jot but improving their deceptively adept knack for songs and melodies. The thrust and muscle here is direct and demonic, and the duo also display why they offer more than head-banging hedonism. Yes, duo. It still seems implausible that this wall of whooomph can emanate from just two people, without guitars. That’s their special trick, their royal flush."

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Styx - The Mission

"The good news: this is not a Wayne Hussey tribute record. The even better news: this is in fact a good old-fashioned concept album, seemingly exhumed from a dusty attic by a doddery duffer for examination by a tweed-jacketed scholar on rock’s very own Antiques Roadshow. “Ah yes, this appears to have been released in 1972 on the Wooden Nickel label; I detect the unmistakable tones of John Curulewski’s guitar.” Wrong, Mr (so-called) Expert! The Mission ain’t no arthritic artefact – it’s brand spanking new and represents a colossal, and wholly unpredicted, return to form for Styx."

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Barb Wire Dolls - Rub My Mind

"Lemmy discovered Barb Wire Dolls when they were playing at LA’s Whisky A Go Go, and promptly signed them to Motörhead’s own label. And while Rub My Mind never quite makes its mark, you can understand why the much missed old rogue loved them – theirs is no-nonsense melodic rock like mama used to make."

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Doll Skin - Manic Pixie Dream Girl

"After forming at the School Of Rock in their native Phoenix, Arizona (only in America!), teenage female punk-poppers Doll Skin were adopted by Megadeth’s Dave Elefson, who produced their 2015 album In Your Face (Again)."

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ZZ Top - Cinco (Reissues)

"There has never been a band quite like ZZ Top. They swing like the best blues acts and have a longevity to match, they were a classic 1980s MTV act, with the swimsuit models to match, and they’re unusually witty and smart for a rock band, with Billy Gibbons famous for both his erudition and his art curation (you really do have to be smart to write a song as simple as Tush). They can be all about the showmanship – spinning guitars, funny clothes – while simultaneously being all about the music. ZZ Top are also one of the few (very few) bands from the 1970s who are still making brilliant music, 2012’s La Futura being a career high point."

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