I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that a good storyline deserves a great soundtrack to follow. Belmont’s newest EP, Bowser’s Mixtape, allowed my imagination to create an entire storyline, not only around the effort’s song selection and order but also creating a new perspective to see for the Super Mario franchise. Specifically, Bowser’s perspective (wink wink).
The EP starts with the inaugural pre-released single “Bower’s Castle” along with a beautifully animated 8-bit computer game-inspired music video. The track dives into influences from 2010s Chicago Drill and blends it with Belmont’s signature evolved technical pop punk sound. The storyline in my head begins with our protagonist jumping right into Bowser’s Castle. We watch from Bowser’s perspective as he silently tracks Mario as he pushes his way through all of the enemies in his way to rescue his princess. When I visualize this, Mario is moving in sync with the rhythm and pace of this song and by its end, reaches Bowser himself.
Moving directly into “Pain Now,” the song showcases hardcore guitar riffs with the band’s signature sound blended beautifully with their addicting pop punk style lyrics. The storyline with this song continues on by visualizing the initial fight against Mario and Bowser. The struggle for power is showcased by Mario avoiding any fire attacks and swipes from Bowser during this fight. During the end of the song, the perspective shifts to Bower as he is initially defeated, or so he wants Mario to think. The next track on this record is a cover of a classic Avenged Sevenfold track, “Nightmare.” The heavy guitar riffs, powerful drumming and raspy vocals are truly what makes this iteration stand out in such a unique way, propelling the EP to its peak. The song helps visualize Bowser transforming into his final form for the “all or nothing” battle with our protagonist, ending in Bower’s defeat.
There’s a smooth transition into “Hollowed Out (Acoustic),” originally from 2018’s self-titled album. The calming yet haunting vocals with the enchanting instrumentals can put you in a trance. When I listen to this song and go back to the storyline, I see Bowser trying to find the core of his loses against Mario. As the song fades out, “Pushing Daises (Remix)” begins with haunting vocals and a hazy instrumental to create a somber tone. A perfect blend to help convey the nihilistic thoughts the vocalist is expressing. During Bower’s thought process, I see him expressing similar nihilistic thoughts when reflecting on his defeats.
As the EP comes to an end, “Stay (Kid Laroi Cover)” comes through with some pop punk spice added to it. The slightly heavy, raspier vocals and crunchy guitar riffs mix great with the original pop overtones of the song. At the end of this tale, this would be Bowser’s pick-me-up song. He admires his efforts to be a great villain and uses that to drive his passions to keep trying.
As a whole, Belmont tells a great story on this mixtape no matter how you imagine it. This progressive-punk quartet truly shows the passion and raw emotion they put in each of these songs as originals, remixes and covers. Bowser’s Mixtape is out everywhere today, November 19, 2021 via Pure Noise Records.