The Deftones always hated the nu metal label.
It got slapped on them in the beginning, but it never really fit.
Despite that, they’re one of the biggest nu metal bands ever.
And if you take any of the other 20 or so labels people have used to describe their style, they’re one of the biggest bands in that genre too.
As such, there are plenty of bands like Deftones. But only a few of them are really good.
Keep reading for the best bands that sound like Deftones, with a brief description and a music video for each.
Table of Contents
Bands That Sound Like Deftones
Although definitely not as nearly metal as the Deftones, Portishead have explored some sonic territories that resemble the Deftones and their style.
Formed in 1991, the group, unfortunately, has only three albums. Nonetheless, they have a very devoted fanbase and plenty of Deftones fans like Portishead.
If you’re generally into the Deftones, but like things to be a bit smoother, then Portishead is a great choice. Sure, there are not that many albums to choose from, but you’ll find only the good stuff on the ones they do have.
Tool is an unavoidable mention on a list like this one. Of course, both the Deftones and Tool have their own distinct styles. Both are unique and easy to recognize. Tool is quite popular among Deftones fans and vice versa.
Starting their work in the early 1990s, Tool have always pushed the boundaries of metal music, all while keeping some of the basic genre elements in there. Their music is full of cryptic messages and secrets. In a way, this quartet likes to mess around with their fanbase.
With two EPs and five albums, you don’t have that much material. Nonetheless, they’ve focused on quality rather than quantity.
Any of their albums is a great choice to start with, although each has its own distinct style. If you haven’t heard any of their songs, we’d suggest that you start with The Pot from the 10,000 Days album.
A Perfect Circle
Tool singer, Maynard James Keenan, also has a few side projects and A Perfect Circle is one of them. While Tool usually gravitates towards metal riffing and other classic genre characteristics, APC is a bit of a different deal.
They aren’t defined as prog metal but rather alternative rock. Nonetheless, you’ll notice a lot of prog elements and rather unconventional riffs and arrangements.
The band has been around since the end of the 1990s. Although there are only four records in their collection so far, they’re pretty diverse and delve into a few different styles.
For instance, the earlier stuff had some heavier parts in it. Meanwhile, the latest album, 2018’s Eat the Elephant, is a much softer-sounding endeavor, exploring some other territories of rock music. Either way, all of the band’s records are worth giving a go.
Glassjaw are one of those partially underrated bands that should have had a much bigger commercial success. They actually have some pretty awesome stuff in their discography which includes 4 EPs, 3 full-length studio albums, and 6 smaller releases.
Formed in 1993, they’ve been led by vocalist Daryl Palumbo and drummer-turned-guitarist Justin Beck from the very beginning. Their style is most commonly described as post-hardcore, although you’ll hear other genre labels as well, including nu metal and alternative metal.
Despite being put in these categories, they were different from the “standard” 1990s and 2000s nu metal bands. Their music was not focused on the commercial aspect, as was the case with many other bands of the era, but rather tasteful experimentation.
Poison The Well
Poison the Well is one of those bands with a very wild history filled with many lineup changes. They’re also considered to be one of the most important early metalcore bands, fusing hardcore and modern metal music into one.
Listening to their five albums, released between 2002 and 2009, we can notice how they differed from other bands that came out of that era.
Although they’ve kept their own ways in terms of songwriting and style, we could notice some similarities with a band like the Deftones. If you like metalcore, but with a bit of a different twist, you’ll definitely like Poison the Well.
As a fan of the Deftones, there’s a very high chance you’ve heard of Chino Moreno’s side project called Palms. Formed in 2011, they have released only one studio album so far. Nonetheless, every Deftones fan loves their stuff.
Their style can be described as post-metal or alternative rock. Aside from Moreno, the band also features guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer, drummer Aaron Harris, and bassist Jeff Caxide.
The single self-titled album from 2013 has just six songs on it. It’s not much, but if you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out, we advise that you do. We’re sure that you’ll love it. It’s a bit softer and more straightforward than the Deftones, but there are obvious similarities between these two bands.
In 2008, drum and bass was at its peak. So it was only obvious for a musician like the Deftones’ Stephen Carpenter to step in and start a band that would mix this musical style with metal.
This happened with his project Sol Invicto, which he formed in 2008 along with Richie Londres. They were later joined by British producer Technical Itch and drummer Dan Foord.
There’s not much stuff released under this name. There’s actually only one full-length album and a few EPs.
Nonetheless, if you like the guitar work in the Deftones, you should definitely give Sol Invocto a go. They’re fairly easy to get into, especially if you like this particular blend of metal and electronic music.
At The Drive-In
Another post-hardcore group on the list, At the Drive-In have been around since 1994. They’re also often associated with the emo movement and have explored different punk subgenres.
Active from 1994, they immediately focused on making and releasing EPs rather than full albums. There’s a total of 6 EPs and 4 full-length studio albums in their discography. And almost all of their stuff was released between 1994 and 2000, during their initial run.
The band reunited two times over the next couple of decades. This gave birth to one album and an additional EP in 2017. They may not have much material, but they’re very innovative in their songwriting approach. And you’ll definitely love what they have to offer.
Although Incubus are definitely not that metal, they’ve often been compared to the Deftones due to their specific style. In fact, they’ve also gone on tour together a couple of times.
The band has explored different genres, ultimately putting them into the category of alternative rock and alternative metal.
They’ve been active since about the beginning of the 1990s. Their debut album Fungus Amongus was released in 1995 and they were set to conquer new sonic territories. They’ll be really easy to get into if you’re a fan of the Deftones.
If you’re into more experimental alternative rock bands, then definitely check out Team Sleep. This is yet another one of Chino Moreno’s side projects.
It is often described as post-rock and shoegaze, and it also features some electronic and trip hop elements.
The group was actually formed around the time the Deftones were working on their debut album. Chino Moreno wrote and recorded some stuff with his friend Todd Wilkinson.
Eventually, in 2005, they released their debut and, so far, the only album. This self-titled record has 15 songs on it. They had some other songs on the side. This is a band you should check out.
Korn is pretty much an unavoidable mention on a list like this one. Although they have their own unique style and aren’t the same as the Deftones, you can notice some of the similarities.
Korn and Deftones fanbases quite often overlap, as both bands are pretty big and started their work around the same time.
Korn popularized extended-range metal guitars. In their music, you can expect a lot of downtuned guitar riffs. In the 1990s, they went deeper than anyone else at that point has. It’s just one of those legendary bands that you have to check out if you just got into metal.
Chino Moreno is a pretty innovative musician, no doubt about that. Here we have yet another one of his side projects.
Labeled as “†††,” the band is referred to as Crosses. The group was formed in 2011 and have two EPs and one full-length studio album.
Once again, Moreno explores different styles of music, going away from the metal that he’s known for in the Deftones.
It’s hard to actually describe the musical style, but labels such as “dark wave” or “dream pop” or even “witch house” are often used. Either way, it’s something that you should check out if you like Chino Moreno, but would also prefer to get away from metal for a while.
On the other hand, if you prefer things to be heavier, we advise checking out Mudvayne. They’re mostly known for the song Dig which was also accompanied by a very memorable video.
And although often categorized as nu metal, the band consists of pretty versatile and proficient musicians. We could describe them as alternative and even progressive metal.
They have 5 studio albums and 1 EP. Right after the release of their debut full-length record in 2000, titled L.D. 50, they immediately started gaining attention among metal fans.
Their music is a bit heavier than the Deftones and the vocals gravitate more towards growling. If that sounds attractive to you, then you’ll definitely love them.
Bands Like Deftones: Final Thoughts
Those were our favorite bands like the Deftones. Obviously, there are plenty of other bands that could have been on this list, but we feel these are the best. We’re sure you’ll enjoy at least some of them.
Several of them also bade our list of bands like System of a Down, so that’s another good one to check out, even if we didn’t include it on this page.
If there are any other bands you feel we left off the list, or if you think some of the groups we chose that don’t belong, feel free to let us know. We love to get new suggestions, so please leave a comment below.