There's nothing like having some healthy competition. We really strive to think outside the box by taking the standard approach the then twisting it a little, all the while trying something new.
We're fans of stuff like Maiden, but I think we generally get it from weirder places. For me, the Eagles' 'Hotel California' represents one of the most brilliant harmony approaches to music. Boston did it very well, too.
We make sure we have total artistic control with our albums. We were working with Interscope Records, and they had a hard time with us having all the control. So when we signed with Warner Bros., we told them we would be working hands-on with our producer, and they were cool with it.
We're trying to leave no stone unturned, to push forward in every aspect of what it means to be a band. Because this really matters to us. Metal matters to us. And we know exactly how much it means to kids out there, too.
Sometimes, with more progressive songs, you lose that feel somewhere along the line, but 'This Means War' never quits - the energy is always there.
Lyrically, 'Planets' is the precursor to 'Acid Rain'; it's about a meteoric, intergalactic war that results in an apocalypse and the human species aligning together to go fight something much better than us, our individual trials and tribulations.