The band will celebrate a split-single release with Cleveland's Deathsperado in a Friday concert at Dirty Dungarees
The expression “ope” is about as Midwestern as it gets, generally uttered instinctively after bumping into someone and almost always accompanied by an apology (“Ope, sorry!”). But there’s nothing polite about the doomy, heavy output of local duo Ope, which favors songs built on massive, path-clearing riffs that move with complete disregard for anyone’s personal space.
The heaviness of the music is matched by the words of Mansfield-raised singer/guitarist Natty Bumppo on 2019 album LOUD. On the opening “Ope to Joy,” Bumppo howls about hating their life, begging someone to put them out of their misery. Two songs later, on “Out of Body, Out of Mind,” they ask to be left to die. And while the duo favors pun-driven titles — “Ope’n Up the Pit,” “Ope’n Container” and “Opesmoker,” to name a few — the lyrics generally project a deathly seriousness.
“I write a lot about depression, and the crushing loudness of the music accompanied with that is part of the appeal for me,” said Bumppo, who will join drummer Nick Aleshin at Dirty Dungarees on Friday, March 13, for a concert celebrating a split single release with Cleveland country doom outfit Deathsperado. “I’ve always been drawn to lyrics when I listen to music, so I like to try and have some substance in what I write.”From time to time we also try to have some substance in the things that we write. Sign up for our daily newsletter
Not that Bumppo is averse to exploring more fantastical realms. In addition to the split single, which finds the band incorporating Western slide guitar into its iceberg sound, Bumppo is currently working on a concept album informed by The Lord of the Rings, though they remain hesitant to describe it as a work of fantasy. “It’s mostly reality with allusions to fantasy,” said Bumppo, who plays baritone guitar in Ope but started on bass guitar at age 12, inspired to pick up the instrument by a character who played a fish skeleton bass in the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.”
“I do like bands that can do more of that fantasy-related thing, like that Columbus band Grayhawk,” they continued. “But most of the time it’s how [the outside world] is filtered through me. … I do a folk-punk project, too, and a lot of the songs in it are about me, personally, where Ope is more a generalization of things that are going on.”
This approach is reflected in the music, which is driven more by blunt, broad strokes than detailed brushwork, with a premium placed on organ-vibrating volume. “I feel that’s pretty common in doom, in general,” Bumppo said. “My partner … was mentioning that they played at a house in Indianapolis, and they took a bath during the show and it was so loud that the water was moving the whole time.”
Correction: Alive regrets using the incorrect pronouns in referring to Bumppo and the article has been updated to reflect the correction.