Ten industrial albums YOU must own.

PART 2: Mark Stewart and The Maffia – As The Veneer of Democracy Starts To Fade (Mute, 1985)

This is a bit cheeky because I’ve already held forth on this album and Mark Stewart’s career at length in my piece The First Taste of Hope is Fear.

To that, I would add two things. Firstly this is one of the foundation stones of the cross over between industrial and dub. Everyone using noise in dance music owes a debt to Mark Stewart.

Secondly, I am amazed that people aren’t constantly up in arms, emailing me to say “WHAT, JOHN? You mean this is an album featuing all the same musicians as those great Grandmaster Flash tracks on Sugar Hill? With topnotch ranter Mark Stewart? Produced by Adrian Sherwood at the peak of his powers? Why didn’t you tell me about this before?”

Is it just me, or is that just about one of the best collaborations in music – EVER?

2ND CHOICE: Mark Stewart (Mute, 1987) 

AKA The Album with no title. I’ve got into real trouble for saying this is my second favourite. All the die-hard fans are adamant that the first LP “Learning To Cope With Cowardice” is either the best or at least as good as “Veneer”. But I still don’t agree!

Also thoroughly recommended is the compilation of early Tackhead twelves: “Tackhead Tape Time”. Same musicians as “Veneer” and similar dystopian Burroughs-influenced vibe.


It’s all good, but I find Metatron and Control Data a bit patchy.


Well, you’ll have to read the article linked above, which I wrote because there really wasn’t much else. The links page has details of the other stuff I found. It’s worth bearing in mind that the piece needs a few corrections (like, I think I was wrong about the Roots Radics).

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