Metal phenoms Black Tide have returned with their sophomore release ‘Post Mortem.’ The album finds the band exploring more than just metal and offering up an album that will appeal to a more mainstream rock audience.

With lead singer and songwriter Gabriel Garcia clocking in at a mere 18 years old, he continues to be the driving force behind the band’s evolution along with the addition of classically trained Austin Diaz on guitar. Diaz has given the band an adrenaline fueled punch in their creative guts and has helped pull the band together again.

Committing themselves to keeping an open mind throughout the writing process for 'Post Mortem,' the results are a dynamic album showing off how far they’ve come as musicians in a few short years, polished off to a perfect sheen with some heavy duty production. 'Post Mortem,' which dropped last month, is available at iTunes.

Loudwire recently caught up with Gabe Garcia to talk about 'Post Mortem,' the band’s growth and their current run on the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival.

I just saw you recently on the Uproar Festival, you guys really seem to be most in your element when you’re on stage; do you feel that’s your strongest asset?

We have a great time playing live but at the end of the day I think our strongest asset is our music, but we do love to get out there and play live.

On your first album, we heard a lot of old metal influences and this time around on ‘Post Mortem’ the influence spectrum seems to be much broader, was this by design or just a result of the band’s natural evolution?

I think it was just the natural evolution of the band. We made our first record when I was 14 years old. My voice has changed from 14 to 18, and we really opened up our minds to all kinds of music. I’m real open minded now and I think that played a part on this record but at the same time we were trying gap the bridge between our first record and this new record.

Austin Diaz has been in the band for awhile but this was the first time he was able to contribute to the writing process; what did he bring to the table?

He studied classical guitar in high school and I think that’s one thing that people might be able to get out of our new record, the classical influences. Besides that, he really brought the band together. When he joined the band, we were all sort of doing our own thing, we weren’t really close as a band and when he joined he really brought us all together again. We started jamming together and having a good time as a band again, so he brought us together in that sense.

What is the typical writing process for the band? Is everyone involved?

We usually start out on our own and then bring ideas to each other. Every now and then there are songs that are exceptions that might come together at rehearsal or one of the guys plays me a riff and I’ll take the leading role from there. Our process is really all over the place.

Let’s talk about the collaboration with Matt Tuck from Bullet for My Valentine on my favorite track on the album, ‘Ashes.’ How did that fall into place because wasn’t the album already finished?

Yeah, the album was already done. We were out on tour with Bullet for my Valentine and we were playing Matt some of the new songs and he really liked the song ‘Ashes’ and said he wished we had come to him to ask him to play a part on the record. We just happened to be a few days away from a New York date and near the studio that we recorded the album at. We talked to our manager and producer and made it work where Matt came in to the studio and sang the verses and it turned out awesome; he really killed it.

So, the song was already on the album, you just added Matt to the song?

Yeah the song was on there with just me singing. It didn’t change too much overall, it’s just Matt singing some of the parts.

Some people might hear the album title and see the cover and think it’s pretty dark but you’ve said that the title ‘Post Mortem’ actually has a positive meaning to the band?

Definitely, for us, Post Mortem just means a good afterlife. It just means from here on out we’re just going to continue to grow and get better and keep doing what we love.

You’ve explored your Latin styles a little bit more on this album and you even recorded Spanish versions of a few of the songs; why was that important for you to do that?

We speak Spanish; I speak Spanish fluently so it was more of a question of ‘Why haven’t we done this already”? We love Spanish music and its part of our heritage so we want to be a part of that world. The songs we recorded in Spanish haven’t been released yet but we’re really looking forward to that.

You started playing guitar and singing at a very early age; what made you pick up the guitar in the first place?

It was actually my cousin who taught me how to play guitar. He’s the one that introduced me to rock and metal music. He opened my eyes to all of that and I fell in love right away. When I was 14, my favorite band was Guns N’ Roses, ever since I started playing guitar that was my favorite band. From there it continued to grow especially with the Internet allowing me to find different music.

So is your cousin taking any credit for your success these days?

He’s just really proud of me. We hang out whenever I’m home, but he and the rest of my family are just really proud.

‘Into the Sky’ is another one of my favorite songs on the album; can you tell me a little bit about it and how the song came together because I know it has a heavy message?

‘Into the Sky’ is one of my favorite songs, too. If you’ve ever lost anyone then it’s a song you can probably relate to. It’s about appreciating someone’s life, someone that played a big part in your own life, and wanting to see them again after they’re gone. I have a lot of faith personally, my family is Catholic, and I believe that anyone you’ve lost and really love that you’ll see them again and that’s essentially what the song is about.

When you sit back and listen to ‘Post Mortem’ from start to finish, do you feel like you made the album that you set out to make?

Yes, we’re definitely stoked on it. I’m a perfectionist and tend to judge myself a lot. I already want to get back in the studio and record another album. The day you stop challenging yourself, something is wrong because you should always want to better yourself and always strive to make something better. I’m ready to get back in the studio and start writing some new stuff, but that’s just the way I am.

I don’t think the ‘That Fire’ video is going to help you gain a lot of new female fans unless they have a great sense of humor; where did the concept for that video come from?

When we first heard that ‘That Fire’ was going to be the single we started coming up with a concept. We wanted it to be ‘Wedding Crashers’ type video but it kind of turned into something different. We got together with Paul Brown, the director, and he had the vision so we went with it. We like it, but like you said, it’s just a funny video; it’s not serious at all. We had a good time making it.

You’ve said that listening to some classic bands opened your eyes to a new way of songwriting and getting out of the box a bit; can you tell us more about that?

For the first album, I was really only listening to metal, when you close your mind like that it leaves you very limited. Now I listen to all sorts of stuff from the Beatles to Incubus to U2, I really opened up my mind and I think it plays a big role in my songwriting. I wanted to have the best songs we could have this time around.

You’re currently out on the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival through mid October; what can you tell fans about it to make them want to come on out for the show?

Everybody should be out here at Uproar Festival, it’s so awesome, especially for us, we’ve been on tour with a lot of these bands before [Escape the Fate, Bullet for my Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold] so it’s like an awesome reunion for us. For the fans, these are the best bands out there right now, it’s a hell of a show and everybody should come out!

You’ve played with some hugely influential acts in your genre (Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Avenged Sevenfold) throughout your short career; what’s the best advice you’ve received?

For me, just from watching these bands do what they do, I’ve learned so much. Watching Avenged Sevenfold get up there and kill it every night and they’re awesome to their fans. That’s the advice I take in, it’s never really been put into words but I try to take it all in and try to be the best person I can be and the best musician I can be.

Watch the Black Tide 'That Fire' Video

Black Tide Prize Pack Giveaway

Enter your email address below for a chance to win a 'Black Tide' t-shirt and an autographed copy of the band's new album, 'Post Mortem.' Contest ends Oct. 13. Click here for official rules.