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Metal Blade Records' all-metal roster of 20-plus bands was known for death metal (Cattle Decapitation, Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore), progressive metal (Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz), and hard-rock names that go back to the 1980s (Armored Saint). Three years ago the 24-year-old label signed North County--based As I Lay Dying, who played a less extreme style of metal. As I Lay Dying's second Metal Blade release, Shadows Are Security, sold more than 200,000.

Last week Metal Blade said thank you to As I Lay Dying front man Tim Lambesis by giving him his own label called High Impact Recordings. "It will be based right here in San Marcos," said Lambesis, 25. He said Metal Blade would fund the label and handle the day-to-day chores of promotion, publicity, and marketing. Like Metal Blade, High Impact would be distributed by Red/Sony.

Lambesis gets to sign his own bands. The first High Impact release will be by Covina-based metalcore band Love Ends Suicide. Lambesis says his immediate plans for High Impact include starting with a roster of four bands. "I'd like to release two [new releases] in the first year and two the next year."

Lambesis said he introduced Metal Blade to Unearth, a young Boston band he discovered that has racked up 200,000 units in sales. "I recommended them, and I was partially responsible for getting them signed."

Lambesis managed As I Lay Dying when it was formed in 2001 but gave up managing when the band signed to Metal Blade. "But I got the experience to take a band to the next level." Lambesis managed Destroy the Runner (recently signed to Seattle indie label Solid State). He said he managed them on a handshake deal. "We didn't have a contract. Those guys were friends of mine. I just wanted to help them get to the next level."

Lambesis also managed local band Strangers Six. He did not say it would be his next band signed to High Impact, but he did say they have a new, L.A.-based manager who is shopping their record. "It's a conflict to manage a band and have them on your own label."

Lambesis and As I Lay Dying are currently on a tour of Japan (where they are headlining) and Australia (where they open for Story of the Year). As I Lay Dying will headline the "Sounds of the Underground" tour this summer.

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