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The Leaders: Eight Up-and-Coming Artists Who Are Poised to Become the Next Deftones

Ten years ago Deftones acclaim was the domain of SputnikMusic lists and YouTube comments. Then Loathe blew the doors down with 2020’s I Let it in and It Took Everything and now Deftones are seemingly everywhere, from Coachella to TikTok to ill considered HBO vehicles for the Weeknd's acting career. With that ascendance has arrived a wave of bands flying their Deftones flag proudly, many of whom are rapidly scaling up from simple homage and stepping into a sound of their own. Here's eight of the most promising Deftones inspired artists we've discovered to date:

Amira Elfeky

Singer-songwriter Amira Elfeky leans hard into Spiritbox/Sleep Token pop-metal marriage, blending soaring vocals with downtuned riffing and Deftones-inspired atmospherics. The nu-metal influence is strong on the LA-based Connecticut native’s Skin to Skin EP, with lead single “A Dozen Roses” ending in a turntable-assisted breakdown. Later tracks like “Tonight” and “Coming Down” shift into nugaze territory, featuring lots of suspended chords and echoing guitar tones. All in all, the EP is a promising opening shot from a young artist with a hopefully long and successful career ahead of her. - Gabi Brown


Dallas-based Bleed has one EP to their name, but what an EP it is. Featuring several alumni of the Texas hardcore scene, Bleed takes us through four tracks of mid tempo Helmet worship heavily influenced by Deftones and 90s shoegaze acts like Hum. Imagine a grittier, grungier Chevelle and you’ll start to get the idea. Highlight track “Silver” pairs gut-punching power chords, ear-catching string bends, and suspended chords in a single driving riff that propels the song forward, with Ryan Hughes’ verby, almost lackadaisical vocals tying everything together. With a debut full-length scheduled to drop later in 2024, Bleed has firmly established themselves as a band to watch. - Gabi Brown

Emotional Xan

Five years ago Emotional Xan were making Gucci Mane inspired music with videos on the infamous No Jumper YouTube channel. Today they’re moaning lushly over airy sheets of guitars and pounding drums. But before you can accuse them of clout chasing, new single “In Waves” drops into a straight trap bridge before leaping back into White Pony Valhalla with a natural grace. For every easy reference, there's a spin that shows they’re building towards something all their own. - Holiday Kirk


Boston, MA's Fleshwater, a side project of members of, make the kind of alternative rock that would appeal to any Deftones fan. But they also wouldn't be out of place alongside bands such as Turnstile, Knocked Loose, or Militarie Gun. There's a broad appeal in their style of guitar-driven music that makes it catchy and even danceable at times. Having gained some notoriety and a loyal audience since the release of 2022's standout effort We're Not Here To Be Loved, Fleshwater is a band poised to take that next step and- if we're lucky- find themselves sharing the stage with Sacramento's favorite sons sooner rather than later. - Cranfather


As soon as the subdued, crystalline reverb of “All In Forever”s opening riff kicks in, you know you’re in for a wild ride. The opening track of 2024 debut full-length A Digital Nowhere quickly explodes into stankface-inducing nu metal overdrive, but its subtle touches like this shockingly tasteful intro that make Bristol, UK’s Profiler worth repeated listens. Plenty of Deftones-inspired acts lean hard into shoegaze tropes, but not many acts consistently thread the needle between ambience and neck-snapping grooves the way this band does. The guitar tones are consistently evocative, and the nods to post-rock abound throughout the album. Profiler could go in a lot of directions from here, and their debut firmly establishes them as a band to watch. - Gabi Brown

Split Chain

Coming seemingly out of nowhere, UK nu-gaze outfit Split Chain could very easily be mistaken for Deftones if one of their five current singles was on in the background. This isn't a bad thing of course, gripping and emotional music doesn't necessarily have to come with a patent pending. The Brighton outfit sprinkles in influence from Nothing and Loathe while putting their own chops on display, keeping things engaging without becoming monotonous. This is for sure going to be a band to keep an eye on as their momentum is only building. - Cranfather

Thirty Nights

Where many of their peers are content to moan over vague guitar distortions, Thirty Nights are in the business of writing songs. “Trapped in Amber,” their most dazzling track yet, lays hooks on hooks with more hooks under those hooks. It’s a song that remembers Deftones used to write hits, dammit, not just deep cuts. But don’t get too comfy, the band name checks Chimaira and Nothingface (!!) as additional influences, and indeed they can throw down with sheer screams and bruising riffs to back those claims up. - Holiday Kirk


Wisp, the professional name of Natalie R. Lu, isn't so much the 'next' Deftones. Rather, on her debut EP Pandora, Wisp conjures the influences of Deftones' shoegaze side (and sometimes the influences of THOSE influences). Threads of Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, The Pixies, and Title Fight weave together with a crisp yet ethereal production. Pandora evokes a timeline where Jonna Lee tapped Basement instead of The Knife for the iamamiwhoami project. This will most certainly appeal to fans of Team Sleep and Crosses as well as those of Deftones proper. - Cranfather

Did we miss anyone? Let us know by submitting that new nu at the submission form right here on our website and we'll make sure to get familiar.