Slipknot are ready to work on their first album since the death of Paul Gray.

The metal icon's bassist passed away in 2010 and the band feel ''it's time'' to start writing new material again, with work set to start next year.

Front man Corey Taylor admitted the group have had a tough two years since Paul died - known within the band as #2 - but it's getting back to being like ''a family again''.

He told Rolling Stone magazine: ''Next year, we're kind of starting to get the machine together, to see what can happen.

''It's finally starting to feel like it's time. Not just for me, but for a bunch of guys in the band.

''We've all come a long way in the last couple of years. We've all started to get our own shit together, and we're starting to feel like a family again, which is huge for us.''

The group didn't want to ''face'' making music without their former bassist, but Corey explained by sticking together they have found it ''easier'' to accept the need to move on.

He added: ''As dysfunctional as this band has been in the past, we've always been there for each other. And we're really starting to reflect that now.

''So I think since we're all on the same page, it's going to make it a little easier to think about going into a studio and making new music without Paul.

''And that was one of the biggest things - just not wanting to really face it. But I think it's really starting to get close to being the right time. I think next year is finally going to be time to do that.''

The new record will be the follow-up to 2008's 'All Hope Is Gone' which - along with their greatest hits-style compilation 'Antennas to Hell' released last year - was the final body of work to feature Paul.