For about six months now, I've been trying to teach myself how to play a particular rhythm. I don't know if there's a technical word for this type of rhythm, but it's something like this:

This is unholy confessions by avenged sevenfold... it's not the song that I'm trying to learn, but rather the technique.

The way I've been trying to teach myself to do it is to hit the A string notes with down strokes, then oscillate my hand and hit the rhythm on the E string with upstrokes. I figure this would be the smoothest way to perform such a rhythm... but after six months of focusing on the technique, I can't seem to get it. Every time I try to hit the open string with an up stroke, I either miss or barely hit the string. I've tried doing the technique verrrryyyy slowlllyyy (which works out ok), then increasing my speed over time...but it seems like, as soon as I try to play at full speed, I lose all progress that I made. I'm right back to missing the open string.

I hope to play a lot of thrash-style riffs, and I know that this type of rhythm is fairly common in a lot of thrash/metal. How do you guys play these types of riffs? Was it as complicated for you to learn it? Do you use down strokes or something similar to what I'm trying to do?
to be completely honest, sorry if this offends you, this is actually very very simple and you are really overthinking it. in holy confessions the open D is palm muted...try all downstrokes, keep your wrist planted for that palm mute.
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Haha, that's what I've been told, as well. I think that's what's so frustrating--my friends can play this type of riff without hesitation...meanwhile, i can play certain rhythms that they can't seem to play so well.

A friend of mine uses all downstrokes for these types of riffs, and i wasn't sure if it was considered improper technique.
yeah, i really think your over complicating it. and theres really no such thing as improper technnique. its what your comfortable with. some pros use all downstrokes, they just like it better. that might be your problem; worrying too much on how your doing it, and not just doing it.
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I just read this and downloaded the guitar pro tab tab to have a listen i found that alt picking it worked fine just instead of a downstroke on the A and an up on the E string try doing it the other way round up on the A and Down on the E.
It took me about 30 seconds to learn it at speed this way