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
Fire crews have been responding to reports of flash flooding in Carmarthenshire. Some homes have been affected.
Medication designed for animals was taken from the building in Abertillery on Thursday night.
More than a thousand riders will be taking part in a series of events in and around the town.