With the second annual AP Music Awards taking place July 22 (get your tickets now), at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, we thought we would use the weeks leading up to this epic event to give you a category-by-category breakdown of the nominees. Read on to learn about the Best Drummer nominees.

Cyrus Bolooki - New Found Glory

Cyrus Bolooki has been at this pop-punk thing a little bit longer than most of the other noms in this year’s category. And while mentioning that fact might seem like an ageist poke, Bolooki has logged enough studio time and road miles to create an almost lyrical style of playing. Just listen to “Selfless,” the cut that opens NFG’s recent album Resurrection, and dig all the power, finesse and rage he can combine in just under four minutes. Mike Ambrose from Set Your Goals filled in at this year’s Soundwave Festival while Bolooki and his wife, Debbie, waited for the arrival of their first child. Now that #BabyBolooki is kicking it with his Mom and Dad outside the womb, NFG’s beat-keeper is back to kicking it for all of us. Who knows? Maybe Caleb Bolooki will be up for Best Drummer at the 2035 APMAs.  

Rian Dawson - All Time Low

All Time Low’s timekeeper doesn’t play drums as much as he rains down upon them in a way that should be saved for government lobbyists and tenement landlords. Dawson has an amazing ability to hit really feckin’ hard while making ATL’s high-spirited songs swing; one trait without the other simply doesn’t cut it. I don’t know about you, but watching this clip makes my arms hurt. Thankfully for the rest of All Time Low (and all of us), that story about him “quitting” to join the cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf was but an April Fool’s prank. Besides, who quits a punk-rock band capable of selling 75,000 records in a single week in the dismal CD sales climate of 2015?! 

Jake Garland - Memphis May Fire

Garland doesn’t need to have any traditional gear endorsements of drums, sticks or cymbals (though he has them, of course, courtesy of Truth Drums, Vic Firth and TRX Cymbals, respectively), as much as he deserves a set of industrial strength hightops to holster those wicked ankles he uses to destroy pedals. Memphis May Fire’s Unconditional finds Garland at the height of his powers, playing with all of the conviction and dexterity needed to swivel heads in modern metalcore. Given how easily a killer drum performance can be faked these days with the help of all sorts of computerized trickery, it was especially impressive when Garland posted this play-through video of the song “Legacy” from MMF’s 2012 set, Challenger, rightfully boasting that the performance contains 100% live audio, no triggers, no samples.

Adam Gray - Texas In July

Four years ago, Gray landed an appearance on the Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show after talent bookers caught wind of a viral video of the drummer juggling his sticks while effortlessly maintaining a beat. An outpouring of support from Texas In July fans hit social media late last year when the band cancelled the remainder of their Canadian Invasion tour after Gray was admitted to the hospital for a “severe medical emergency.” Health issues caused further cancellations, until eventual news of the band’s plan to disband this summer. The drum cover of Eminem’s “Rap God” that Gray posted in late January displayed the diverse power of Gray’s in-the-pocket groove, timing, display of force and stick-driven physics lessons, which will continue to amaze fans and esteemed colleagues in whatever project he chooses to tackle next.

Matt Greiner - August Burns Red

The furnace stoker in August Burns Red knows how to bring the power with neck-snapping kicks, cool cymbal accents and the requisite acceleration that keeps this scene running faster than a NASCAR outing. Yes, Greiner makes it look easy, but we all know better. He’s also done his part in keeping the brotherhood of the beat strong, teaming up with Adam Gray for the occasional drum clinic and giving drum lessons on this year’s Warped Tour. His commitment runs so deep, he started a custom drum company with drum builder Kaleb Kilmer. Greiner & Kilmer makes all sorts of cool and unique stuff–as cool and unique as Greiner’s impressive discography with ABR. 

Luke Holland - The Word Alive

Holland is certainly no slouch in delivering precision beatdowns while shoring up the walls of decibels the Word Alive dish out. But what’s intriguing are the videos of Holland adding complex drum parts to electronic pop/dubstep tracks. On these clips, Holland adds his own vibe by employing both cool phrasing and metalcore force, playing off the songs’ original programmed parts. Holland proves the genre sounds so much better with a live drummer. The Word Alive were only a couple of weeks into their co-headlining tour with Chelsea Grin when Holland broke his left foot (ouch!) in May. On June 18, he posted a video playing along to “Tooth & Claw” by Animals As Leaders. “Broken foot?” reads the optimistic caption accompanying the video on Facebook. "Practice playing songs with just your hands, compensating for your feet! I haven’t played my mpad really in a month or so until today, feels good!” 

Tickets for the award show are on sale now.