Spencer Chamberlain led the attack on the death growl, commanding the attention of the audience with his constant display of passion and ferocity. Even alongside four of his trashing bandmates at the front of the stage, the frontman stood out for his enthralling physical performance.
On Chamberlain's right, lead guitarist Tim McTague brought the six-string destruction, churning through crushing riffs and tag-teaming it with James Smith for band's explosive double-axe attack.
Stage left, Chris Dudley threw himself into his keyboards and synths with every chord and melody, while opposite, Grant Brandell tirelessly slapped down pummeling bass lines.
While Chamberlain dominated the front of the stage, Aaron Gillespie was ever his foil at the back of the stage, delivering a savage beat on drums and clean vocals carried that band throughout the night.
Where do I begin? Let's just say that after the end of this show, the naked front element of my 14-24mm looked like a Jackson Pollack painting, what with all sweat and spit that was flying through the air.
Aside from photographing the Blood Brothers from the front of a mosh pit, this was probably one of the more intense shows I've photographed. In fact, though I photographed the full set, I spent about half the show just hanging out on the side stage while security pulled crowd surfers over the barricade as fast as they could.
Without a doubt, this was the heaviest set of the night, and the surfers were coming over in waves. I'm actually surprised I didn't get a kick to the head considering all the raucous fans that poured over into the photo pit.
For this performance, I heavily favored the wide angles, drawing on the 14-24mm for much of the show. The Nikon 24-70mm also saw a little action, but again, this was mostly at the lens's wider focal lengths.
As with the preceding bands, I used Nikon's CLS system for this performance, utilizing three flashes on stage. The ability to use flash for this show was a huge boon, as the intense action on stage benefited heavily from the motion-stopping power of the added, on-demand light.
The stage lighting for this set was relatively lush, with heavy backlighting and smoke during many parts of the set. The smoke set off the speedlights to great effect and lent a rich feel to the normally spare stage space.
A huge thanks to Libby and her team for setting this one up – they're consistently one of the most excellent groups with which to work. Also, a thanks once again to Brent and the band.
If you haven't seen the portrait shoot we did with Underoath, check it out!
And, if you still can't get enough of Underoath, you can see the boys' set from Mayhem Fest here.