“Totality” represents the most intensive concentration of the individual spirit and its oppositional assertion into the world of dogmatic reverence for the bland simulacra upon which the legions of mediocrity are perpetually feasting. Although Rites of Thy Degringolade initially represented a solo project of the legendary Paulus Kressman (Sacramentary Abolishment, Ouroboros, Warmarch, Weapon, etc.), by the time he began to construct the monument that would become “Totality,” Paulus incorporated fellow Ouroboros member, J. Wroth on guitars to attain a more powerful result. “Totality” demonstrates the perfection of a synthesis that has become commonplace in the current scene. While the technicality and precision of its attack conjure a manifestation of Death Metal seldom, if ever, so poignantly expressed, the spiritual and psychological sensibility that pervades the album is of a higher order that is generally associated with Black Metal. What emerges is a harrowing exploration of the Self that erupts in a complex mosaic of violence. In this way, “Totality” is a razor severing the woven fibers of the physical world and thereby revealing myriad dimensions beyond the veil that subjugates our senses. Consequently, this album may honestly be characterized as one of the few truly transcendent albums in the Death Metal canon. Musically, “Totality” is unmatched in the hostility of its assault and the depth of its penetration into the mind of the listener. Rites indulge in an orgiastic spectacle of technicality, yet the product is so pure that the work still retains its richness despite the heavy ornamentation. The sound achieved on this album is holistic and organic, and yet so profoundly structured as to coalesce into a mechanized system of such complexity that it is untouched by biological decay. It is the elevation of the organic self into something purified and impenetrable. Long overlooked and underrated, “Totality” was only first pressed on vinyl in 2010 by Bird of Ill Omen / Worship Him / Nuclear War Now!, even though it was originally released on CD almost a full 10 years earlier. Now, five years after its first vinyl pressing, Nuclear War Now! offers a well-deserved repress of this masterwork of one of the most important emanations of Canadian Black/Death.