The impact Deftones have had on heavy music is immeasurable. Having started out as an early player in nascent 1990s nu metal scene, since then the Sacramento Californians have experimented endlessly with their violently beautiful metal, evolving into one of those rare, acts that simply defy classification. Here’s ten bands who wouldn’t be here without them.
Loathe played around with light and shade on their nightmarish, techy debut, 2017’s The Cold Sun, but on follow-up, I Let It In And It Took Everything, the Liverpudlians really let their Deftonian influences shine through. A more ambient, atmospheric and experimental album, on shimmering tracks like Two-Way Mirror, the band turned in a truly transcendent work, cementing themselves as one of the UK’s most innovative, new bands. Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno certainly agreed, tweeting his support for the band, much to the disbelief of Loathe frontman, Kadeem France who told Hammer, “When I saw that tweet, I thought he’d been hacked!”
Ever since Architects established themselves as scene leaders with 2016’s seminal All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, they’ve consistently pushed musical, conceptual and emotional boundaries as well as seeing their sound emulated by countless bands. Back in 2014, Architects vocalist Sam Carter cited Deftones as a major inspiration to “do their own thing”, telling Hammer, “When people have tried pigeonholing [Deftones] they’ve always broken out of the box.” That mindset was palpable on this year’s For Those That Wish To Exist, which removed any creative limitations, taking Architects in a new melodic, cleaner direction.
Static Dress have wasted no time in becoming one of the UK’s most exciting new bands. With a sound that’s rooted in angular post-hardcore and emo, the Leeds quartet have already supported Creeper and worked with Loathe guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe, who produced Static’s frenetic 2019 singles Clean and Adaptive Taste. And there’s no way the band haven’t listened to a lot of Deftones in their time - just check out those jagged guitars and bludgeoning romanticism of latest single, sober exit(s).
Every Time I Die
Another band sitting on a near perfect run of albums, Every Time I Die’s gloriously chaotic hardcore/metalcore crossover has made its own indelible mark on our scene. Since their 2001 debut, Last Night In Town, the Buffalo band have become one of our most beloved treasures and we have Deftones to thank for it – well if you ask ETID vocalist, Keith Buckley anyway. A superfan since he was 16, Buckley credits the band as his biggest musical inspiration, a lifelong love that can be heard rippling throughout hypnotic track, White Void, on the band’s recent, ninth album, Radical.
With a disregard for genre boundaries straight out of the Deftones playbook, rising Oklahoma City quartet cursetheknife blend technicolour grunge and full-throttle rock to arrive at their self-described “alt shoegaze”. There’s no way a churning track like Feeling Real, or the dissonant Low, from 2021 album, Thank You For Being Here, wasn’t directly influenced by Chino and co.
Long Island’s Glassjaw formed in 1993, but they didn’t release their breakthrough debut, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence, until 2000 - a month before Deftones released their mind-expanding masterpiece, White Pony. Of course, Glassjaw’s adroit post-hardcore went on to be as equally game-changing in its own right, influencing bands left, right and centre, some of whom are in this very list, but there’s no mistaking the distinctly Deftonian presence looming large over jagged cuts like the thundering Pink Roses and Mu Empire, from their 2002 classic, Worship And Tribute.
Michigan-based newcomers Sleep Waker released one of 2021’s best metalcore albums in Alias, and they have a lot to thank Deftones for. Balancing beauty and brutality and segueing between dreamlike melancholy and dark, downtuned catharsis, tracks like Skin and agonising Distance carried emotional weight, delving into the insomnia and sleep paralysis drummer and songwriter Frankie Mish suffered as a kid.
Deftones aren’t the first band you think of when you consider Deafheaven’s body of work. But much like Sacramento’s finest, ever since Deafheaven released their breakthrough Sunbather in 2013, they’ve been a band in flux. Never afraid to frustrate the expectations of their fans, much like the way Deftones risked the wrath of the die-hards by eschewing their heavier inclinations for light and airy textures on 2016’s Gore, 2021 was the year Deafheaven evolved from blackgaze scene leaders to lush and layered shoegazers on this year’s fifth album, Infinite Granite.
Wristmeetrazor’s diverse sound draws influence from everywhere - making nods to Swedish melodeath giants At The Gates, classic 00’s metalcore, Code Orange’s industrial assault and of course Deftones, who’s presence is felt in the atmospheric hooks and vocal melodies on WMR’s 2021 album, Replica Of A Strange Love, especially on intoxicating tracks, Last Tango In Paris, which features Knocked Loose guitarist Isaac Hale, and Eyes Of Sulphide.
Earlier this year, when Spiritbox vocalist Courtney LaPlante was asked to reveal the ten albums that changed her life, it was no surprise to see Deftones’ most experimental work, White Pony on the list. Having formed Spiritbox with her partner, guitarist Michael Stringer, to create music without boundaries, the band’s debut, Eternal Blue, was one of the most anticipated albums of 2021, veering between acerbic, post-metalcore and oceanic swathes of ethereal melody.
When Hammer caught up with the band during the recording sessions, Courtney told us, “The unifying theme is fluidity. I want a record that somebody will listen to all the way through and enjoy as a body of work, rather than just a few singles.” We wonder where they got that mindset from…