When Elliot Sloan was 16, his father suddenly passed away. "It totally fucked me up," Sloan tells Revolver. "I had to leave school and start working. These songs helped me push through a lot of shitty days when I really just felt like giving up." Sloan stopped skating and locked himself in his room for weeks, having lost the motivation or enthusiasm to do anything at all. "These songs literally gave me the strength to push through and get back to skating and find a light at the end of a very dark tunnel." In the years to come, Sloan would reach great heights in skateboarding, become teammates with Tony Hawk, and win nine X Games medals. Outside of his skating, Elliot has become a phenomenal metal guitarist and a hell of a music composer. In fact, Sloan recently wrote and recorded a track aptly titled "Revolver" for his episode in our "Ride the Lightning" series.
For our ongoing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, we asked the mega ramp maniac to share his playlist for dark times. Sloan goes above and beyond, offering 13 songs that helped him deal with the loss of his father and helped fuel his motivation to pursue a career in skateboarding. These songs, that Sloan listened to habitually and at full volume, are his Black Days playlist.
"Dead Alone" is still one of my favorite In Flames songs and a perfect fit for this feature, since the album is titled Soundtrack to Your Escape. Their melodies are my all-time favorite. The production on this album completely blew me away and inspired me to up my game when it comes to music composition and getting really great-recorded sounds. All of In Flames' albums are amazing, but Soundtrack to Your Escape and its predecessor, Reroute to Remain, have a signature sound that is thematic, consistent and compares to nothing else. I love when albums have that overall feel in production where you can really feel the vibe they were going for at the time.
The Duskfall always had that super sick Swedish melodic death-metal sound. This song from Lifetime Supply of Guilt always gets me super hyped to skate! My friend Sandford turned me on to them back in the day. All their early albums were serious studio albums — super sick and super fucking heavy. They recently went through some lineup changes, but I love their first five records with the band's main songwriter, Mikael Sandorf.
When I first heard the Ashes of the Wake album, I couldn't believe how good and heavy every song was from start to finish. I must have listened to that album a thousand times. Fast forward to all these years later and now I'm a friend of Randy Blythe and Will Adler. What a trip!!! I think Randy started following me on Instagram and I then reached out to him. We finally met at one of their shows at the Hollywood Palladium. That was around 2014, and Will and I ended up writing some music together and put out a video for ESP Guitars. It's crazy that a band so influential in helping me through dark times has become part of my life.
The Black Dahlia Murder was my introduction to super heavy shit and they're still one of my favorite bands. I love this song "Miasma" off the same-titled album. And their new lead guitar player, Brandon Ellis, is the best guitar player around right now in my opinion. He's a young prodigy who plays way beyond his years and has the best chops out there.
These guys have always been a favorite of mine. This song "Nerve" from their album, Stabbing the Drama, really made me love them that much more! This song is so heavy and melodic that I'm compelled to sing along with it every time I hear it. Soilwork really pioneered the Swedish melodic death-metal sound. I got into them after A Predator's Portrait — I'm obsessed with that sound.
I love this song from the Wages of Sin album. Angela Gossow was amazing. She actually left the band and was replaced with Alissa White-Gluz, who is also incredible. I actually have Rise of the Tyrant album-cover artwork tattooed on my right forearm. That song — all of their songs, really — have the most epic guitar harmonies. Arch Enemy's original guitar players were brothers and I always thought that was really fucking cool.
Children of Bodom was definitely one of the first metal bands that really inspired me to incorporate really heavy synth layers into my own music. That song, "Follow the Reaper," and really the entire album [2000's Follow the Reaper] got me way more into guitar playing. I've always been so blown away by how good Alexi [Laiho] is.
This track is my favorite off the Slaughter of the Soul album. At the Gates is another band that really pioneered that classic Swedish melodic death-metal sound. Those dudes are definitely the kings of their shit.
I still listen to this album all the time. "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse," from Death Cult Armageddon, was the first time I really heard that kind of shit blended together — death metal with a full orchestral arrangement. It's like movie-soundtrack death metal, which I love.
This song "Breathe Life," off their record The End of Heartache is a favorite of mine. Every album of theirs has been amazing. Killswitch was probably the first band that I really got into their lyrics. You can sing along with every chorus they write and their music is still so fucking heavy. They were the first band that sparked my interest in bands that actually sing, rather than only scream.
This album [Come Clarity] was the follow-up to Soundtrack to Your Escape and I still can't decide which album I love more. This song, "Take This Life," is the first track on Come Clarity, and one of my all-time favorite songs. I just remember chipping ice off my windshield and driving an hour to work every day, after my dad passed away, thinking, "Fuck, this sucks." I knew I had to move to California. But yeah, this song was the anthem that got me through those shitty days.
This instrumental intro and song from An Ocean Between Us were so amazing — they inspired me to write shit like that. It was a weird time for me, right after I first moved to California. I actually got to see them play at Soma in San Diego with Killswitch Engage and In Flames. That was a super sick show. As I Lay Dying is actually from San Diego, so eventually I met Nick Hipa, and he played guest solo on the track I wrote for my "Metal and Mayhem" video part.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.