When the issue came out, the previews were laid out as reviews complete with star ratings. I never at any point or to anyone claimed to have heard these albums in their entirety. Whatever decisions Maxim made after I turned in my work were beyond my control.
It is very, very easy to imagine an editor at Maxim, known more for its near-naked photos of young women than its editorial standards, sexing up an article well past the boundaries of evidence or writerly intent. But as the LA Times noted, Peisner's items contained stronger opinions than one would typically expect in a preview. On the Black Crowes album, for example, his article said:
Now that they're legitimately grizzled, they sound pretty much like they always have: boozy, competent and in slavish debt to the Stones, the Allmans, and the Faces.
It's entirely possible some disclaimers and context were cut away, and likely that if the piece had run in a different section, without the star ratings, there would never have been such controversy.
No matter who is at fault, everyone can now safely review the March issue of Maxim without having read it: "shitty."
(Cover shot via Style Dash)