13 Incredible Bands Like Deftones: Similar Artists

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Deftones, a renowned American alternative metal band, has left a profound impact on the music industry. With their distinct fusion of aggressive metal, dreamy shoegaze, and experimental rock, they’ve amassed a global following since their formation in 1988.

Their unique sound has inspired a wave of bands, with each adding their own twist to Deftones’ pioneering style as they carved their own niche.

In this article, we will delve into the world of these musical successors, exploring 13 incredible bands like Deftones. So, if you’re a fan of their sound, keep reading to discover your next favorite band.

Deftones by benjgibbs (CC BY 2.0)

1. Korn

Emerging from the sun-soaked city of Bakersfield, California, in 1993, alternative metal band Korn carved a path for themselves that would significantly shape the landscape of heavy music.

They had a sound unlike anything else at the time—a fusion of heavy metal, grunge, and hip-hop. This distinctive blend—known as nu metal, which Deftones had in their early music—was first introduced to the world with their self-titled debut album in 1994.

The band’s breakthrough came with their third studio album, Follow the Leader, in 1998. The album skyrocketed Korn into mainstream success, earning multi-Platinum status and producing the hit singles “Freak on a Leash” and “Got the Life.” The former song received a Grammy nod for Best Hard Rock Performance and won Best Short Form Music Video.

Related: For more, check out our list of bands like Korn here.

2. Incubus

Formed in 1991, the California rock band Incubus echoes Deftones’ alternative and nu-metal sound, though their sound has evolved significantly over the years, with each album showcasing different elements of their wide-ranging musical influences.

Incubus gained mainstream recognition with the release of their third album, Make Yourself, in 1999. The album featured the hit singles “Pardon Me” and “Stellar,” which received significant radio airplay. However, it was the song “Drive” that became the band’s breakthrough hit, reaching #1 on Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay chart.

Their next album, Morning View, released in 2001, solidified their place in the rock music scene. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and produced several successful singles, including “Wish You Were Here” and “Nice to Know You.”

3. System Of A Down

In the mid-’90s, System of a Down (often abbreviated as SOAD) started making a name for themselves in the Los Angeles music scene, performing at notable clubs such as the Roxy and the Troubadour.

Their sound was akin to Deftones’, fusing elements of alternative, nu, and heavy metal music, and quickly gained a following.

In 2001, their second album, Toxicity, catapulted them to international fame. Despite facing challenges—including infighting among band members, a riot at a free concert, and a ban from major radio stations—the album topped the Billboard 200 chart and went multi-platinum.

SOAD has received numerous awards throughout their career, including a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for their song “B.Y.O.B.” in 2006.

4. Slipknot

American rock band Slipknot formed in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1995. The group is known for its attention-grabbing image, aggressive style of music, and energetic and chaotic live shows.

One of the band’s defining characteristics is their use of masks and uniforms. Each member has a unique mask they wear during performances, which adds a level of theatricality to their performances.

Like Deftones, Slipknot is often associated with the nu-metal movement of the late ’90s and early 2000s, although both bands have evolved beyond the confines of that genre.

Over the years, Slipknot has released several successful albums, like the chart-topping album All Hope Is Gone. They’ve been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, winning Best Metal Performance in 2006 for their song “Before I Forget.”

Related: Like Slipknot? Check out our list of bands that sound like Slipknot here.

5. Tool

Another music group similar to Deftones’ alternative metal and art-rock style is Tool, a Los Angeles band that formed in 1990. The current lineup includes Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Danny Carey, and Justin Chancellor.

Their sophomore effort, Ænima, released in 1996, won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance and was certified triple Platinum.

Further releases, including Lateralus and 10,000 Days, both received critical acclaim and commercial success. After a 13-year hiatus, Tool returned with their fifth studio album, Fear Inoculum, in 2019. These three albums topped the Billboard 200.

Over the years, Tool has become known for their immersive live shows. To this day, they continue to tour extensively around the world and draw large audiences to their performances.

6. Team Sleep

Our next band, Team Sleep, has a direct link to Deftones. The group, founded in 1994, began as an idea by Deftones’ frontman Chino Moreno and his childhood friend, guitarist Todd Wilkinson.

Similar to Deftones, Team Sleep’s music possesses a blend of heavy rock and atmospheric elements. However, Team Sleep stands out due to its softer, moodier sound, which brings a different facet of Moreno’s musical creativity to the forefront.

The band’s self-titled debut album was released in Europe in 2005. This album was their major breakthrough and showcased their experimental approach to alternative rock. It included notable songs like “Blvd. Nights,” “Ever (Foreign Flag),” and “Your Skull Is Red.”

Despite being considered a side project, Team Sleep has managed to carve out its own niche in the music scene. Their discography, while not extensive, is highly regarded for its innovative approach to rock music.

7. Circa Survive

Founded by Anthony Green in 2004, Circa Survive quickly gained attention in the indie music scene. Like Deftones, the band has been pivotal in the post-hardcore and alternative rock scenes since their inception.

Circa Survive released their debut album, Juturna, in 2005, to much acclaim, followed by On Letting Go in 2007. Six more albums were released, and though all were well-received, their third album, Blue Sky Noise, became their highest-charting release. It peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200.

The band is also known to have toured extensively, and their live performances were captivating, particularly with Green’s dynamic stage presence. In 2022, however, Circa Survived announced that the band would go on an indefinite hiatus.

8. A Perfect Circle

We have next A Perfect Circle, an American rock band formed in 1999. Fans of Deftones might enjoy A Perfect Circle’s music, which is a mix of alternative rock, art rock, and hard rock.

The band debuted in 2000 with Mer de Noms, which helped push A Perfect Circle to fame as it became Platinum certified. They went on to release three more albums, all of which were critically and commercially acclaimed, further solidifying their reputation as a distinctive and innovative band.

As of today, A Perfect Circle continues to influence the rock scene. Despite the long gaps between their albums, the band’s dedication to their craft keeps their fanbase engaged and eager for more.

9. Disturbed

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, is Disturbed, a rock band known for their aggressive yet melodic sound that blends elements of heavy metal, hard rock, and nu-metal, much like Deftones’ style.

The band debuted with a bang in 2000. They released an album called The Sickness, which featured the hit song “Down with the Sickness,” which received a Loudwire Music Award for Best Metal Song of the 21st Century.

They have since released several more albums and singles, but one of Disturbed’s most popular songs is their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” The multi-platinum hit showcased a softer, more melodic side to the band and brought them mainstream attention.

10. Linkin Park

A name that probably doesn’t need an introduction is Linkin Park. Formed in 1996, they are known for their alternative rock, nu-metal, and electronic sound.

Since their debut in 2000, Linkin Park quickly rose to international fame, with all their seven studio albums either landing at #1 or in the top 3 of the Billboard 200 chart and singles like “Numb,” “In the End,” and “What I’ve Done” becoming multi-Platinum fan favorites.

The band’s trajectory, however, took a tragic turn with the passing of lead vocalist Chester Bennington in 2017. Without their key figure, Linkin Park soon after disbanded. Nevertheless, they remain an iconic symbol in the world of alternative rock and nu-metal.

11. Portishead

Established in Bristol in 1991, we have next the band Portishead. Though renowned for being a trailblazer in the trip-hop genre, their music also features aspects of electronic and alternative rock, much like Deftones’ sound.

Their debut album, Dummy, was a great success, landing at #2 on the UK Albums Chart. It also received an Album of the Year Mercury Prize in 1995. Their two other albums, Portishead and Third, were also met with widespread acclaim.

Though Portishead has had several breaks over their career, they always manage to jump back into the scene with fresh, innovative music that continues to captivate and inspire their audience.

12. Blindside

The rock band Blindside originated from Stockholm in 1994. Composed of Christian Lindskog (vocals), Simon Grenehed (guitar), Tomas Näslund (bass), and Marcus Dahlström (drums), the band echoes Deftones with its heavy rock and post-hardcore sound.

The band’s early years were marked by a series of independent releases in Sweden. Though their debut was in 1997, their breakthrough came with their third studio album, Silence, released in 2002.

The album was a commercial success and featured hits like “Pitiful” and “Sleepwalking.” Its success led to Blindside touring with big-name bands and artists such as Hoobastank and P.O.D., further increasing their visibility on the international stage.

13. Faith No More

The last band on this list is not here because they were influenced by Deftones, but rather the other way around. Faith No More, formed in 1979, is one of the influences that helped define Deftones’s sound.

The band debuted in 1985, but their breakthrough didn’t come until the release of The Real Thing in 1989. It included their biggest hit, “Epic.” The song enjoyed considerable MTV airplay and peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Despite disbanding in 1998, Faith No More reunited in 2009 and has since continued to tour and release new music. Their comeback album, Sol Invictus, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim, receiving two Best Album awards (from Metal Hammer and Metal Storm).

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Similar To Deftones

We’ve delved into the histories, breakthroughs, and unique styles of several bands similar to Deftones, shedding light on their journeys and contributions to the music scene.

We hope this article has been helpful in broadening your musical horizons and perhaps helped to add new songs to your playlist.

If you feel there are any bands we missed that should be added to the list, let us know so we can add them here. Happy listening!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.