Sentencing Francesco John Prevete to at least 23 years in prison, the judge at Mold Crown Court said: "you carried out a brutal and ferocious attack on Craig Maddocks.”
Prevete showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker detailed the injuries inflicted by more than 50 stab wounds, causing "a significant degree of mental and physical suffering”.
He said the victim would have been “conscious of what you were doing to him.”
The judge said that there was evidence that Mr Maddocks’ use of cocaine meant that he owed people money, including £300 to Prevete's father - and that Prevete decided to punish him.
He denied murder during the trial, and Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said: “Because of your claim to have no knowledge of the offence, it may never be known with certainty what lay behind your decision to kill him."
More top news
Exclusive figures given to ITV Cymru Wales show a steep rise in the number of people seeking advice for steroid use.
Cold, breezy and generally cloudy at first with further wintry outbreaks on the hills
All primary and secondary schools in Wales have been categorised in a new colour-coded system. Is your school green or red?