Godsmack bassist Robbie Merrill tells Billboard.com the title of the Boston band's forthcoming third studio album "Faceless," comes from the group's perception of itself through the media.

Godsmack bassist Robbie Merrill tells Billboard.com the title of the Boston band's forthcoming third studio album "Faceless," comes from the group's perception of itself through the media. The set is due April 8 via Universal. First single "Straight Out of Line" arrives Feb. 4 at U.S. rock radio outlets. "Basically, it's about us being under the scope," says Merrill of the album name. "We sold a lot of records and we're still not, when it comes to the MTVs and stuff, highly respected."

While the hard rock act may have problems with its videos not reaching the masses, the same can't be said for its presence on rock radio. Radio didn't forget Godsmack during its year-long hiatus from touring, as "I Stand Alone," its Grammy-nominated contribution to Universal's "The Scorpion King" soundtrack, reached No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks tally. Merrill admits knowing the band was getting plenty of spins over the airwaves actually helped ease tensions while Godsmack was recording in Miami in late 2002.

"That's what kind of made us relax just a little bit because we wanted to get into the studio a lot earlier than that, but we just knew we didn't want to rush the CD," says Merrill. "This one was really going to be a big one for us and we really wanted to take our time with it."

As for material on "Faceless," Merrill says the group has matured in its songwriting and grown sonically. Interestingly, despite being heavily influenced by Alice In Chains, Godsmack hasn't written a song in tribute to its fallen singer Layne Staley, as rock acts such as Pearl and Staind have done. Instead, lead singer Sully Erna found inspiration after reading Rush drummer Neil Peart's book "Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road," and penned the new song "Serenity," which Merrill says is similar in motif to the tribal-drum sound of Godsmack's past hit "Voodoo" (from 2000 album "Awake").

Fans worried that Godsmack may have softened its sound can rest assured. Says Merrill, "We have plenty of heavy songs and [the album] is still hard-edged." Look for Godsmack to begin an arena tour in early May; however, an Ozzfest slot doesn't appear to be in the cards this summer.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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