All of the album's lyrics were written either by members of other black metal bands or Nocturno Culto (unlike the band's usual method on other Darkthrone albums in which Fenriz is the main lyricist).
The album was released on CD and LP by Moonfog Productions. The LP had different cover art. In March 2011, Total Death was reissued by Peaceville Records with an extra track and an extra CD of commentary by the band members. The extra track was recorded around the same time as the album and appeared on a compilation for Moonfog Productions.