Conceived as a mashup between Renaissance-inspired vocal polyphony and early 70s progressive rock, The Knells is equal parts art song and chamber rock. Lyrically, the album pays homage to the classic “concept album,” and examines some of the eternal questions that define and confound the human search for meaning and significance: the illusive nature of progress, one's perception of the passage of time, the power of perspective in deriving meaning, and the circular and ultimately transcendental — if somewhat violent — beauty of nature.

Sonically, The Knells employs a veritable armada of instruments, sounds, and ideas to explore the wide dynamic range of the amplified ensemble. Softer chamber music-like passages for strings, bowed percussion, and quiet guitars frequently contrast with louder, more rhythmically driven passages. The constant throughout is a trio of female vocalists that deliver hypnotic incantations — sometimes homophonically, and at other times in complex contrapuntal arrangements.

The Knells