Sick Riffs: Zachary Ilya Ezrin teaches you the dissonant doom of Imperial Triumphant's Transmission to Mercury

Sick Riffs #104: Masked NYC black metallers Imperial Triumphant have a truly unique writing style as evidenced by their catalogue - which now comprises four full-length albums, since the release of 2020's Alphaville.

The record's arrangements evoke images of dystopia, employing complex and dissonant chord progressions to convey its message. Most of the songs are over six minutes, too.

Guitarist Zachary Ilya Ezrin joins us today - unmasked, of course - to teach you the chords of Transmission to Mercury, the album's fifth track. Some are jazzy out of context, but they're grouped together in this progression create a hopeless sense of doom.

Ezrin plays a Jackson KV2 USA electric guitar through a Peavy 5150 amp to achieve the track's killer tone.

"The coronavirus has luckily only affected my job," Ezrin says. "As with all musicians in NYC, there are now zero gigs. Yet, my family and band are all healthy and safe which is what matters. However it is quite frustrating. 

"We have not only postponed two tours but also postponed music videos because it's so bad in NYC. However, New York is resilient and we will persevere."

Support Imperial Triumphant

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.